Pakistan seeks NATO backing for Afghan peace process

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Islamabad, July 8 (IANS) Pakistan on Friday sought NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) support to enhance efforts for political negotiations to find a solution to the Afghan conflict.

Foreign Affairs Adviser Sartaj Aziz issued the appeal as NATO opened a two-day summit in Warsaw to review the security situation in Afghanistan and make decisions on the presence of its troops, Xinhua news agency reported.

After US President Barack Obama’s announcement this week to extend the presence of 8,400 American troops in Afghanistan through 2017, NATO is likely to make a similar decision. NATO has some 6,000 troops in Afghanistan at present.

“We expect that as we intensify our efforts to facilitate the peace process in Afghanistan, they will also capitalise on the dividends of these counter-terrorism operations to facilitate this process,” Aziz said.

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Aziz’s statement comes as the US and NATO allies have not taken any substantial steps to promote the reconciliation with the Taliban militants.

Pakistan reacted to a drone strike in May that led to the death of Afghan Taliban chief Mullah Akhtar Mansour. Pakistani officials said the strike had undermined peace efforts in Afghanistan.

The summit is taking place under the long shadow of terrorism, turmoil and continuing conflicts, said Sartaj Aziz.

“Within the last week alone, we have seen major terrorist attacks in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Turkey,” Aziz said, stressing that “terrorism could only be defeated with unity and cooperation of the international community”.



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