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Editorial: NATO support peace efforts

Amidst presence of US Special envoy to Afghanistan Dr. Zalmay Khalilzad in Islamabad and courtesy call on its country’s Prime Minister, the NATO Secretary General Mr. Jens Stoltenberg backed the peace efforts aimed at a negotiated resolution to long standing Afghan conflict. Speaking ahead of a two-day NATO foreign ministerial meeting in Brussels that began on Tuesday, Stoltenberg said NATO strongly supports an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process. He said the alliance expected all regional powers, including Russia and Iran, to support an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process and play a constructive role. In particular he jubilated President Ashraf Ghani’s offer to opposition Taliban for unconditional talks which has already been turned down. He said, “NATO is there to create a foundation for a political solution because we train, assist and advise the Afghan security forces, armed forces, to send a clear message to the Taliban that they will never win on the battlefield,” adding the only solution to Afghan conflict was to sit down at the negotiating table and engage in a real peace negotiation. No one can neglect the active support of NATO in reconstruction process, establishing of a centralized system and constitutional set up in Afghanistan. The NATO member countries in particular made huge investment on return of peace and reconstruction of war stricken Afghanistan, which is now at stake, therefore, the US Secretary General, has made the important statement at the time when US Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad has expedited the peace efforts. In recent days for third time Khalilzad is visiting the region and for second time is staying in Islamabad. Unlike of previous stop-over talks, this time Zalmay Khalilzad has consumed maximum time on his talks with Pakistan Premier Imran Khan, his Minister and Secretary for Foreign Affairs. Personally Imran Khan is known for his soft corner towards Taliban. But unfortunately some other state and non-state actors within Pakistan are thinking with other options. There are divisions within Pakistan on the issue of terrorism and extremism and relations with immediate neighbouring countries like Afghanistan and India. Majority of common men, politicians and public opinion makers are desirous for settling all such issues at once for all. But unfortunately certain circles within Pakistan civil-military establishment intends to exploit compulsions of Afghanistan in favour of its own interests and targets. Though the US and its western allies, especially the NATO members are attaching great hopes with Zalmay Khalilzad lead peace efforts. But they must keep in mind one thing that at the moment Pakistan is under tremendous pressure of Financial Anti-terrorist Task Force (FATF) threats and just for getting a relief its civilian leadership are making tall claims regarding its positive role in peace efforts whereas the real Game-Changers are playing role of silent spectators.

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