Pakistan, Afghanistan clash over peace process

Last Updated: Saturday, July 6, 2013 - 10:23

Islamabad: Kabul and Islamabad are again locked in a blame game on the elusive peace and reconciliation process in war-torn Afghanistan, reports Xinhua.

Senior Afghan civilian and military leaders have accused Pakistan of sheltering Afghan Taliban leaders pursuing armed attacks in Afghanistan. Pakistan denies the charge and insists it wants peace in Afghanistan.

On Wednesday, Afghan army chief, General Sher Mohammad Karimi, said Pakistan controlled and sheltered Afghan Taliban leaders who continued to unleash its fighters in Afghanistan.

Gen Karimi told the BBC that fighting in Afghanistan could be stopped "in weeks" if Pakistan tells the Taliban to end the insurgency.

Pakistan was quick to reject the allegation, calling it "totally fabricated" and an attempt to malign the country.

Pakistan foreign ministry spokesman Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry said Islamabad had exercised extreme restraint in the face of what he called "highly provocative language" used by Afghan civil and military officials.

Days earlier, Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Ershad Ahmadi claimed that Pakistan had advised the Afghan government to share power with the Taliban as part of a peace talks "end game".

"We believe this federalism is a means for the Pakistanis to achieve what they could not achieve through their proxy (Taliban) on the battlefield," Ahmadi said in Kabul.

In Islamabad, Chaudhry dismissed Ahmadi`s claim as baseless and said no such proposal was made to the Afghan authorities.

At a press conference in Kabul with British Prime Minister David Cameron over the weekend, President Hamid Karzai said efforts had been made during the past six months to impose federalism on Afghanistan through the Taliban or by handing over one or two places to the militant group under a power-sharing scheme.

"We have heard rumours from Pakistan as well and have reports that they have made efforts in this respect," Karzai said.

"I do not know what Pakistan`s interest is in it because such a situation in Afghanistan will mostly be unfavourable for Pakistan," he said.

The opening of the Taliban office in Qatar June 18 was also viewed in Kabul as a "conspiracy" involving foreign countries.

In his weekly radio address late last month, Karzai said his government was frustrated with the "conspiracies by foreigners" against Afghanistan through the Qatar office.

Although Pakistan has insisted that its only role was to facilitate the Qatar peace process, Kabul remained unconvinced about this claim, widening the mistrust between the two neighbours.

Karzai also objected to the raising of Taliban`s white flag at its Qatar office and a plaque bearing the words "Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan," which was the name given to the country during the Taliban rule.

He viewed the Taliban office as an embassy and a parallel government-in-exile.

The row over the Taliban flag and the plaque has heightened tensions between Pakistan and Afghanistan and dashed hopes for the success of the peace process.


First Published: Saturday, July 6, 2013 - 10:23

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