Pakistan has dismissed as “unfortunate” Afghan allegations that Islamabad is behind recent spike in attacks aimed at disrupting the April 5 presidential polls and blocking Kabul’s efforts for a peace deal with the Taliban.
In an interview with VOA, Adviser to the PM on National Security Sartaj Aziz said the government has tried to improve relations with Kabul. He said Pakistani authorities believed that they had convinced President Karzai it has no favourites in Afghanistan and strictly adheres to a policy of non-interference.
Aziz claimed the diplomatic outreach succeeded in connecting with many Afghan political factions, including leaders of the former Northern Alliance, and had improved overall relations. But the latest allegations are a setback.
“It is rather unfortunate because there is no justification for it. What do we get out of disrupting the elections? For us, a smooth transition in Afghanistan is absolutely critical because without peace and stability in Afghanistan Pakistan cannot be stable. So, therefore it is important that this thing is reviewed,” said Aziz, referring to the accusations.
He also said that Pakistan was taking all possible steps to prevent anyone from trying to undermine the Afghan presidential vote and was ready to deal with any government that emerges in Kabul after the elections. He described as “unrealistic” President Karzai’s demands that Pakistan should bring the Taliban to the table for peace talks with his government.
“He thinks somehow we should be able to deliver the Taliban but even in the best of times even before 9/11 they listened to us only when it suited them. I do not think they are under anybody’s control. So obviously we told them that this is an intra-Afghan issue we have some influence on the Taliban but we do not control them. This was what I would call an unrealistic expectation,” said Aziz.
Afghan authorities have suggested that an attack on a luxury hotel in Kabul and attacks on electoral commission offices in recent days have been carried out by “foreign intelligence agencies.”
On Sunday, Afghan President Hamid Karzai spoke with US Secretary of State John Kerry by phone, urging Washington to help the situation by putting pressure on Pakistan’s spy agency.