- President Ghani announces that Afghanistan no longer wants Pakistan to ‘bring Taliban to negotiation table’, but to close Taliban offices, detain perpetrators of terrorist attacks in Afghanistan and to deny treatment of injured Taliban fighters in its hospitals
- With 77 insurgents killed in Helmand clashes, Kandahar police chief says ‘Pak trying to take control of northern Helmand with cooperation of local, foreign fighters’
- US declares bilateral talks between Afghan-Pakistan only way for stability in region
The Afghan government has rejected participating in the second round of peace talks with mediation of any second country, and asked Pakistan to take action against Taliban leadership in its territory instead of bringing them to the negotiation table.
After series of deadly attacks in Afghanistan last week for which the National Directorate of Security (NDS), Afghan spy agency, blamed Pakistani military establishment, President Ashraf Ghani announced that Afghanistan no longer wants Pakistan to “bring Taliban to negotiation table”, but to close Taliban offices, detain perpetrators of terrorist attacks in Afghanistan and to deny treatment of injured Taliban fighters in its hospitals.
Ghani’s remarks come after the first round of formal peace talks with Taliban representatives were held on July 7 in Murree, Pakistan. The second round, scheduled for July 31, was postponed in request of Taliban due to death reports of their supreme leader Mullah Omar.
Ghani’s decision to halt talks with Taliban via Pakistan was widely welcomed by Afghan political parties, analysts and public, who called it a logical decision and opportunity for those Taliban, who want to hold Talks with Afghan government without any pressure from Pakistani government, report in Afghanistan Times said Sunday.
The former president, Hamid Karzai, who recently opposed Ghani’s more soften stance toward Pakistan also supported the new change in strategy of the government.
Karzai in a meeting held on August 12 in Kabul said, “It is imperative to support recent decision of Afghan president and the chief executive against Pakistan.”
Karzai said Pakistani people are friends and brothers to Afghans but “our complaint is from Pakistani military and spy agency, who are committing cruelty against Afghans”.
Sources close to Taliban also backed Ghani’s stance to prefer direct talks with Taliban rather than under influence of Pakistan.
“It was a smart decision by our government to halt talks with Taliban under Pakistan’s influence, because Pakistan always tried to use the process as a tool for its own interests, rather than genuine effort for ending war in Afghanistan,” a former Taliban leader who now lives in Kabul told Afghanistan Times on the condition of anonymity.
“Talks under Pakistan’s pressure would only serve Pakistani interests and will never result in a realistic peace deal,” he said.
Referring to a Taliban official statement regarding direct talks, he said the Taliban showed willingness to engage in direct talks and bypass Pakistan.
AFGHANISTAN BLAMES PAK FOR ONGOING BATTLE IN NAWZAD:
Moreover, with at least 77 Taliban insurgents killed and more than 100 others injured in 21 days of clashes in Nawzad district of southern Helmand province in Afghanistan, Kandahar Police Chief Gen Abdul Raziq, who is leading the war in Nawzad, once again said that “Pakistan military’s interference is the reason for the ongoing battle in Nawzad”.
“Pakistan is trying to take control of the northern districts of Helmand with the cooperation of local and foreign fighters,” he said, adding that they “will not let the insurgents and Pakistan reach their goal and soon the district will be cleared of insurgents”. He added that the security forces have managed to re-take most parts of the district.
His comments come as the security forces are currently embroiled in heavy clashes with local and foreigner insurgents in the district.
Abdullah Hamim, TOLO news reporter who visited the battlefield in Nawzad, said that most of the local residents have been displaced due to insecurity and the ongoing battle in the district.
Hamim reports that he only saw a few residents in Nawzad and that the Taliban have closed all schools and the hospitals in the district.
“Most of the residents of this district have fled due to the war and have gone to other parts. In the past three weeks all schools and hospitals have been closed by the Taliban. We are facing massive problems,” one of the residents of Nawzad said.
Helmand Police Chief Nabi Jan Mullakhil said, “The security forces have been caught up in clashes with the insurgents for 21 days in this district but after reinforcements arrived from Kandahar province, the security forces were able to re-take control of most of parts of the district.”
Army officials said that their troops had played a key role in the operation.
“Our security forces which are police, military and National Directorate of Security (NDS) have worked together and ousted insurgents from Nawzad,” Gen Dadan Lawang, commander of the 215th Maiwand Corps said. However, the officials did not providing details about the casualties of the security forces.
‘TALKS BETWEEN AFGHAN, PAKISTAN ONLY WAY’:
In the meanwhile, the United States says that bilateral talks and cooperation between Afghanistan and Pakistan is the only way for stability and security in the region.
US foreign department praised Afghanistan-Pakistan talks following the deadly attacks in Afghanistan Kabul.
John Kerby, spokesman of US foreign department says, “Bilateral talks between Afghan-Pakistan governments are commendable”. He further added that America is committed to cooperate and help Afghan forces and will not abandon Afghanistan in any way.
A high-level Afghan delegation travelled to Pakistan on Thursday to discuss an action plan after Islamabad-hosted peace talks with the Taliban were suspended last month.
The two sides agreed to maintain close contact to promote bilateral cooperation, address all issues of common concern, and evolve a strategic consensus to respond to the security challenges of the region.