Islamabad, April 26 (IANS) Pakistan on Tuesday said it was making efforts to promote peace in Afghanistan and denied providing shelter to Taliban members as claimed by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.
“Pakistan has made sincere and consistent efforts to promote lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan,” Efe news quoted Pakistani foreign ministry spokesperson Nafees Zakaria as saying.
Zakaria said Pakistan was making serious efforts to facilitate peace process in Afghanistan but the country was “not solely responsible” for bringing the Afghan Taliban to negotiations table for dialogue.
He also said Aghan Taliban were not being sheltered in Pakistan, as Ghani claimed in his speech on Monday, while Dawn online on Tuesday reported that the Pakistani government recently admitted, after years of official denial, that the Afghan Taliban leadership enjoys safe haven inside the country.
Zakaria’s statement was made in an apparent response to the Afghan president’s assertion on Monday that Afghanistan “no longer expects Pakistan to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table”.
Zakaria said Pakistan does not believe violence and bloodshed were the path to peace, and stressed that Islamabad condemned last Tuesday’s terrorist attack in Kabul, in which 64 people were killed and over 347 injured.
Not just Pakistan, but the US, China, Pakistan and Afghanistan were also responsible for negotiating with the Afghan Taliban, he said.
On Monday, Ghani warned Pakistan if it does not take imminent military action against Taliban, it will take the case to the UN Security Council.
Ghani added the country’s intelligence agencies and its international allies, including several Pakistani authorities, have confirmed that many Taliban leaders live in complete impunity in Pakistan, in the cities of Quetta and Peshawar.
He also said the Afghanistan spy agency held the Haqqani Network jihadist group, allegedly backed by Pakistan, responsible for the attack in Kabul.
The Haqqani Network — affiliated to the Afghan Taliban — controls wide swathes of territory in southeastern Afghanistan, although its main leaders are believed to be operating from Pakistani tribal areas.
Following last week’s attack, US State Department spokesperson Elizabeth Trudeau said the US has asked Pakistan to end its “continued tolerance” towards such groups.
Trudeau asked Pakistan “not to discriminate between terror groups regardless of their agenda or their affiliation” and undertake concrete action against the Haqqanis.