Pakistan has some influence over Taliban, but no control, says Sartaj


PM’s adviser says Afghan govt has not yet approached Pakistan regarding contact with Taliban

Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz has said that Pakistan has some influence on the Taliban but it had no control over them.

Speaking in a talks show on a private news channel, Aziz said it was up to the Afghan government to resume talks with Taliban and that Pakistan’s job was only to facilitate the talks. He said both the United States and Pakistan fully supported the Afghan reconciliation process, adding that it was up to the Afghan government to decide whether they wanted the same or not.

He said the international community has concerns about the Afghan issue and no world power wants war in Afghanistan. He said Pakistan and the US want resumption of talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban. Aziz said the Afghan government has not yet approached Pakistan regarding contact with the Taliban.

He said Pakistan’s stance was clear that its soil would not be used against any country.

Pakistan had brokered peace talks between the Afghan government and Taliban in July, the first round of which took place in Murree. But after the announced death of Taliban supreme leader Mullah Omar, a second round of talks was postponed.

Ties between Islamabad and Kabul were generally improving until the recent attacks in Kabul adversely affected them.

President Ashraf Ghani accused Pakistan of failing to cleanse its soil of terrorist bases from where attacks were being launched continuously.

Afghan defence officials also accused Pakistan’s intelligence service of playing a key role in the Taliban’s seizure of Kunduz.

Pakistan denied the allegations, and condemned the attacks in Kabul and Kunduz in strong terms.

Since coming to power last year Ghani has courted Pakistan, expending substantial domestic political capital in the process, in hopes Islamabad will persuade the Taliban to come to the negotiating table.