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Peace in Afghanistan impossible sans reconciliation: Sartaj Aziz

AT Monitoring Desk-KABUL: Foreign affairs advisor to Pakistan’s Prime Minister said on Friday that peace would not return to Afghanistan without negotiations.

Addressing the inaugural session of the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) Sartaj Aziz said that members of the group were trying hard to restore durable peace and stability to Afghanistan. Fifth round of the group comprising of Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and the United States, was held in Islamabad.

Welcoming the peace deal between the Afghan government and Hezb-e-Islami, he urged other militant groups to renounce violence and join the peace talks. Aziz hoped that other insurgent groups would follow Hezb-e-Islami to sign such peace agreements.

Rejecting the impression that Islamabad was controlling Afghan Taliban, he urged the Afghan government for clear and positive response for the Taliban. He also acknowledged that the Taliban had not yet positively responded to the reconciliation process. Expressing concerns over anti-Pakistan statements, he said that this was putting negative impact on the peace drive. Condemning the recent terror attack in Kabul, Sartaj Aziz said that both Kabul and Islamabad could jointly control infiltration.

The fourth round of the QCG was held in Kabul in February.

Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani during his opening remarks said that Afghan government wants the 4-QCG to draft the details of the direct talks between government of Afghanistan and Taliban before end of February.

He said that Afghan government following political process and end of violence urge all Taliban to join the process. “This is the best opportunity for dissident to put end for war against their homeland. Afghanistan’s constitution had not closed door to those who seek political partnership.”

Peace is not only a dream for Afghan people, but a precondition for stability in the region, he said.

In first week of March, the Taliban issued a statement rejecting participation in the peace talks.

Stressing on withdrawal of the foreign troops from Afghanistan, exchange of prisoners and removal of its leaders names from the UN blacklist, the Taliban said that it would not participate in the direct talks with Afghan government unless the conditions were met.

The militant group said that the US was reviewing troop levels to deploy more soldiers in Afghanistan and carrying out airstrikes in different parts of the country, but kept the Taliban uninformed about meetings of the quadrilateral consultative group.

“On the one hand America is deploying fresh troops to Afghanistan, is carrying out airstrikes in various areas and partaking in night raids and on the other the Kabul administration has expanded operations in multiple provinces, displaced thousands of families from their homes in this cold winter and at the same time intensified propaganda about negotiations and Quadrilateral Coordination Group meetings. These two conflicting activities have begun as the Political Office of Islamic Emirate has not been kept informed about negotiations and neither have the requests of known Afghan personalities been paid any heed,” the statement said.

The group said that Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansoor has not established any committee to engage in talks with the government.

The group said that Taliban would take part in direct negotiations after all foreign troops left the country, the blacklists were eliminated and the Taliban prisoners were freed.

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