Deteriorating Afghanistan-Pakistan Relations Hitting US-Taliban Peace Process: Washington

Washington has warned Pakistan that its deteriorating relations with Afghanistan will not be helpful for the peace process in the region. Senior officials at the foreign ministry stated to Pakistan Media that the US was really disturbed over the ‘cold war’ brewing between Pakistan and Afghanistan, damaging the peace talks with the Taliban.

“The US obviously wants result oriented dialogue with the (Afghan) Taliban. They believe Pakistan has a role to play (in the negotiations),” said one official.

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He said Washington had warned that the continuation of the tension could be dangerous for the peace efforts. Another official said Pakistan had made it clear to the US that Afghanistan was not serious in peace efforts and was creating hindrance in US-Taliban talks.

“They (Afghanistan) have openly opposed our role and most of the times they have created misunderstandings about our role. We want to play a role and will continue our efforts for peace,” he added.

Earlier, Pakistan pulled out of the US-Taliban talks – to be held in Doha, Qatar, next month.

So far the US and Taliban officials have held several rounds of talks in the Qatar capital in a bid to end the 18-year long war in Afghanistan.

Last week, Zalmay Khalilzad, the US special representative for Afghanistan reconciliation, flew from Kabul to Islamabad to have wide-ranging discussions with Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and other officials. He also visited the General Headquarters to meet army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa.

Later, he said: “Men (and) women, young (and) not-so-young, all will join in intra-Afghan dialogue in Doha (and) eventual negotiations.”

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Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Mohammed Faisal said Islamabad had always supported the peace talks and will continue to play its facilitative role for durable peace in Afghanistan. “Dialogue is a good way of resolving all outstanding conflicts”, he added.

He said Pakistan will not be part of the next round of talks between the US and Taliban in Doha this month. “There will also be an Intra-Afghan dialogue in Doha on 14-15 April 2019, organized by Russia,” the spokesperson said. The first such meeting was held in Moscow in February this year.

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