Afghan peace: ‘Pak not taken into confidence’

The Pakistan Army has said that Islamabad has not been informed about the objectives of the peace plan in Afghanistan.

Islamabad: The Pakistan Army has said that the country has not been taken into confidence on the reconciliation process in Afghanistan or being informed about the objectives of the peace plan in the neighbouring nation.

The Army`s stand on the Afghan reconciliation process was outlined by chief military spokesman Maj Gen Athar Abbas, who told BBC Urdu that Pakistan can help in the peace process if it is taken into confidence.

"We have not yet been included in any decision for a reconciliation roadmap," Abbas said.

Pakistan was not given any information about who is included in the reconciliation process, he said.

A fundamental decision to take the Afghan peace process forward had been made and the role of the stakeholders should be determined, including the role of Pakistan, Abbas said.

"We will then be in a position to tell which group we can bring to the negotiating table," he said.

"But we cannot guarantee any conclusion of the reconciliation process as no group is in our control," he remarked.

The Afghan government suspended the joint peace and reconciliation process with Pakistan after peace envoy and former president Burhanuddin Rabbani was assassinated by a Taliban suicide bomber last month.

The bomber, who claimed to be carrying a peace message from the Taliban, killed Rabbani at his residence in Kabul, creating a deadlock in the peace process.

When Abbas was asked about a new BBC documentary that says the Pakistan Army is training and backing the Afghan Taliban, he rejected the charges as baseless and said Islamabad reserves the right to take legal action against BBC.

"It is ridiculous to say that Pakistani agencies are supporting those elements who are killing our people," Abbas said.

Pakistan has lost 350 intelligence officials in the anti-terror campaign, he said.

Abbas contended that the same people were behind suicide attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Such allegations will create misunderstanding among those who are interested in peace in Afghanistan, he claimed.

Pakistan has also told US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her recent visit to Islamabad that it is not supporting militants, he said.

Top civil and military leaders told Hillary that anyone who cannot help the Afghan peace process should not be allowed to create hurdles, he added.

Peace in Afghanistan will benefit Pakistan and Islamabad is working to achieve this goal according to its own strategy, Abbas said.


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