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“We hope Pakistan will help us block the sources of terrorists and dismantle their hideouts”: Atmar

AT News Report-KABUL: Afghanistan is negotiating with the government of Qatar on closing Taliban’s political office in Doha, as it had been counterproductive in promoting peace talks, the national security advisor said on Friday.

Mohammed Haneef Atmar said in an interview the Taliban’s political bureau in Qatar had not helped in promoting peace talks and that was why Kabul was seeking its closure.

“One of the main reasons for my trip to Saudi Arabia is to get support for the process of reconciliation in Afghanistan; we believe the participation of Saudi Arabia will lead to tangible results.”

He told Asharq Al-Awsat there were more than 55,000 terrorists in his country, mainly divided into four categories. Local terrorists numbered 30,000-40,000, he said.

Atmar estimated militants from Pakistan in his country at 6,000-7,000, regional terrorists at 2,000-3,000 and global extremists from groups such as ISIS at around 3,000 and Al-Qaeda at 200-400.

He said the terrorists were benefiting from three sources of funding — terrorist groups in different parts of the world, governmental organizations in some countries and drugs.

Atmar added: “I don’t want to blame Pakistan or say that they cause the problem, but we hope that Pakistan will help us block the sources of terrorism and the places where terrorists are hiding.”

About last week’s statement of the Pakistani foreign minister that the security of Afghanistan amounted to his country’s stability, Atmar said: “We are happy to hear this, but we will be happier if they can close the terrorist havens in their country.”

The Afghan government was keen on seeing Saudi Arabia as the leader of the Islamic world, engaging in reconciliation efforts between the warring parties, Atmar remarked.

“Saudi Arabia plays a major role in the stability of the region. Afghanistan is suffering from terrorism and the kingdom has a leading role in fighting terrorism.

“We want to benefit from Saudi capabilities and expertise in this field to promote Afghan reconciliation,” the NSA concluded.

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