Pakistan housing Afghan Taliban leaders, admits Nawaz Sharif's adviser Sartaj Aziz
Pakistan's Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz has admitted that Islamabad has considerable influence over the Taliban because its leaders live in the country.
Islamabad: Pakistan's Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz has admitted that Islamabad has considerable influence over the Taliban because its leaders live in the country.
Pakistan for years had denied that it provides safe haven to the Afghan Taliban on its soil.
Neither did Pakistan ever mention that it could do anything to end the violent campaign in Afghanistan that has since 2002 killed thousands of civilians and international troops.
The Dawn quoted Aziz, as saying that , "We have some influence over them because their leadership is in Pakistan and they get some medical facilities. Their families are here. We can use those levers to pressurise them to say, 'Come to the table'.
But we can't negotiate on behalf of the Afghan government because we cannot offer them what the Afghan government can offer them."
Aziz unusual comment was made at Washington's Council on Foreign Relations think tank on March 1.
Aziz added that Islamabad pressured Afghan Taliban leaders to participate in the first-ever direct talks with the Afghan government on July 7, 2015.
Aziz asserted that Islamabad had told the Taliban leaders that they have hosted them for 35 years and can't continue the services as the world was blaming them.
Last week, Pakistan, Afghanistan, the United States and China had agreed on a road map to end the Afghan war through negotiations between Kabul and the Taliban.
According to reports, Taliban leaders are expected to hold talks with Afghan officials in Pakistan in coming weeks.
Aziz has meanwhile pressed before United States in convincing that Pakistan has abandoned its support to the militant groups.