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‘Govt shouldn’t compromise over Durand Line in peace talks’

By Akhtar M. Nikzad

KABUL: Leader of Wefaq-e-Milli, a political party, on Monday asked the government to abstain from talking about fate of the Durand Line in the peace talks with the Taliban because future of the de facto line could be decided by Afghans only.

Addressing a press conference, Besmillah Sher said the National Unity Government (NUG) has no mandate to recognize the Durand Line as an international border between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

“Only Afghans have the right to decide about future of the Afghan lands occupied by foreigners. The Durand Line shall not be used as a bargaining chip in the reconciliation process in order to bring peace,” he suggested.

He was of the opinion that Pakistan is forcing Afghanistan to accept the Durand Line as a recognized border between the two countries. Sher furthered that Islamabad was playing double game. He claimed that 14 years of war with the Taliban had proved the reality that Islamabad is deceiving Kabul and seeking durable strategic goals in Afghanistan.

Sher went on to say that Pakistan expects many privileges from Afghan government in the peace talks with the Taliban, including acceptance of the Durand Line as an international border.

Senior Pakistani officials in the “Heart of Asia” summit in Islamabad vowed to resume the peace talks between the Afghan government and insurgents. Afghan officials have said that the second round of peace dialogues with the Taliban would be started within the next few weeks.

Sher termed the High Peace Council (HPC) a passive body and emphasized that the government should stop providing funds to the council.

“The government claims that war in Afghanistan is imposed by foreigners and it is a proxy war. If it is true then why the government wastes millions of dollars in supporting the HPC?” he questioned.

Earlier, after attending the Heart of Asia Conference, President Ashraf Ghani in Kabul said that the peace parleys with the Taliban would be initiated under the framework of Afghan Constitution.

President Ashraf Ghani told media on Monday that only Afghans have the right to decide about fate of the Durand Line. He said the government has no authority in this regard.

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