Pakistan National Security Advisor to visit Afghanistan
Islamabad: A top aide to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will travel to Afghanistan on Sunday to bridge differences over the Taliban`s political office and to prepare grounds for President Hamid Karzai`s visit to Islamabad, officials said on Friday.
The trip by Sartaj Aziz, Advisor to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs, comes amidst fresh allegations by top officials in Kabul that Pakistani agencies are abetting the Taliban insurgency.
"He (Aziz) will discuss various bilateral issues during his meetings with President Karzai and senior officials," a Foreign Office official said.
The issue of reopening the Afghan Taliban`s office at Doha, which has been temporarily closed down, will figure in the talks, officials said.
Karzai was one of the first leaders to call Sharif after he won the election in May, when it was hoped that relations would improve under the new government in Pakistan.
However, ties plummeted due to a controversy over the name and flag of the Taliban office and Karzai`s chief of staff, Karim Khorram, said yesterday that the militants` political bureau in Qatar was an effort by Pakistan and the US to break up Afghanistan.
Afghan National Security Advisor Rangin Dadfar Spanta alleged yesterday that Pakistani agencies were involved in the killing of his brother Ahmad Wali Tahiri, a government prosecutor who died in an attack on Wednesday that was claimed by the Taliban.
"These foreign elements are training and hiding some people in Peshawar and Quetta. After the training, they are sent on terror missions and they kill our brothers, sisters and relatives," Spanta told the media.
Sartaj Aziz, an ethnic Pashtun, is an experienced leader who served as Sharif`s foreign minister in the 1990s, but his recent remarks that Kabul should cede some provinces to the Taliban created a storm and an angry Karzai said Pakistan was trying to divide Afghanistan into "fiefdoms".
Aziz told the media at a joint news conference with visiting British Foreign Secretary William Hague on Wednesday that the controversies about the Taliban`s Doha office will be resolved.
Pakistan officially maintains that it supports an Afghan-led peace process to end the insurgency and bring peace to the war-torn country.
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