Islamabad: Pakistan has “some influence” over the Taliban but no control over them, the Prime Minister’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz today said even as he voiced support for Afghan reconciliation process. “It was up to the Afghan government to resume talks with the Taliban and our job is just of a facilitator,” Aziz was quoted as saying by Radio Pakistan.
He said that both the US and Pakistan fully supported the Afghan reconciliation process. “Pakistan has some influence on Taliban but it had no control over them. The international community has concerns about the Afghan issue and no world power wants war in Afghanistan. Pakistan and the US want resumption of talks between the Afghan government and Taliban,” Aziz said.
However, he also said that it was up to the Afghan government to decide whether they wanted the same or not. “The Afghan government has not yet approached Pakistan regarding contacts with Taliban,” Aziz said. He maintained that Pakistan’s stance was very clear that its soil would not be used against any country.
In July, the first round of peace talks between the Taliban and Afghan government took place in Murree near Islamabad which was brokered by Pakistan. The second round of talks, however, was postponed after the leak of news of death of Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Omar. Pakistan was among three countries, along with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which recognised the Taliban government in Afghanistan in the mid-1990s.
Pakistan’s top civilian and military leadership concurred yesterday that ‘willingness and seriousness’ of the Afghan government is necessary for the resumption of the stalled peace talks, The Express Tribune reported.
However, Afghanistan Chief Executive Dr Abdullah Abdullah has said he has suspicions over Pakistan’s role in the peace talks after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s ‘refusal’ to act against the Afghan Taliban.