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'Pakistan won't take responsibility for Afghan peace dialogue failure'

Pakistani foreign minister says he will meet Turkish leadership on June 18 to discuss ongoing Afghan peace process

Aamir Latif   | 14.06.2021
'Pakistan won't take responsibility for Afghan peace dialogue failure'

KARACHI, Pakistan

Declaring peace in neighboring Afghanistan is a “shared responsibility,” the Pakistani foreign minister on Monday said, adding that it would not take the responsibility if blamed for the failure of the already fragile Afghan peace process.

Addressing the inaugural session of the Pak-Afghan Bilateral Dialogue organized by a local think tank, the Regional Peace Institute in the capital city of Islamabad, Shah Mahmood Qureshi said heaping blame on Pakistan for the ongoing violence in the war-ravaged country, should now be stopped.

He said he would meet the Turkish leadership on June 18 to further discuss the ongoing Afghan peace process.

“Pakistan has already shared its viewpoint (on peace dialogue) in the recently held tripartite talks in Istanbul between Turkey, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. I am going to see the Turkish leadership on June 18, where I will further discuss the issue,” he maintained.

Islamabad, he added, has no intention to interfere in Afghanistan’s internal affairs. Instead, he further said, Pakistan is “sincerely” working with the international community for peace in Afghanistan, which is in Islamabad’s own interest.

“The concept of strategic depth is obsolete. Pakistan is, instead, committed to move together with Afghanistan to attain the goals of peace and economic prosperity in the region,” he said.

Commenting on the upcoming US visit of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and other senior Kabul government officials, Qureshi said: “I wish them luck and a good visit. But let me make it clear in advance that if the objective of the visit is starting a fresh blame game and holding Pakistan responsible for all the problems [in Afghanistan] and the lack of [progress in the peace] process, then it will not work.”

The Kabul government, especially Afghan National Security Adviser Hamdullah Mohib, has long been accusing Pakistan of being behind the fresh wave of Taliban attacks on Afghan security forces, amid the ongoing pullout of US forces from the war-wrecked country.

Islamabad denies the charge, and accuses Mohib of “sabotaging” the virtually stalled peace process, with key Afghan districts falling into the Taliban hands one after another in recent weeks.

“Pakistan is ready to be a partner with the US, Afghanistan, and other regional countries in fight against terrorism. We are making serious efforts for a political settlement in Afghanistan,“ Qureshi noted.

“(But) I would say the time is running out. A leadership should be brought forward, which enjoys the support of the Afghan people,” he added.

"I, as the elected representative of Pakistan, do not want to see Talibanization of Pakistan. How can I be more clear than that?" he went on to argue.

According to Afghanistan’s Tolo News, out of 387 districts and 34 provincial capitals, the centers of at least 17 districts have fallen to the insurgents over the last two months.

Since the announcement of an exit date of this September for American troops by US President Joe Biden, Afghanistan has been witnessing a spike in deadly Taliban assaults across the country that has led to mounting casualties on all sides.

According to the Afghan Interior Ministry, more than 250 civilian casualties, allegedly caused by the Taliban, were recorded in May alone, a charge rejected by the group.

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