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Washington not to mediate between Kabul, Islamabad over Torkham tension: John Kirby

AT Monitoring Desk-KABUL: The US State Department Spokesman John Kirby ruled out Washington’s interference in Afghanistan and Pakistan over Torkham border dispute.

“We are obviously very concerned by the border clashes, particularly around the Torkham crossing. We want both sides to ratchet down the violence and begin a dialogue to try to reduce the tension, keep the crossing open, and have it done peaceably,” he said.

“Now what effect the border clashes are having on reconciliation, I don’t know. I haven’t seen any practical effect of it to date. These clashes have only just popped up in recent days. But that aside, we still want to see the reconciliation process move forward,” Kirby added.

“We have not taken a mediation role, and we have talked about this before. This is an Afghan-led process. We obviously support it and we want to see it succeed. We have expressed that support privately and publicly,” he said. “But this is President Ghani’s initiative he’s taking it on.”

“We know he wants to get it back on track and we fully support him in that effort, but this is not for the United States mediating between Afghanistan and Pakistan,” he furthered.

His remark comes after Afghanistan and Pakistan reopened Torkham crossing for traffic on Saturday.

Earlier, Pakistani paramilitary forces struggled to build a gate in Afghan soil, in which the Afghan border police prevented them from installation of the gate.

The Afghan and Pakistan forces exchanged intermittent firings, leaving several security personnel dead and wounded on both sides. A senior Pakistani officer succumbed to his wounds on Tuesday in Peshawar.


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