Reiterating that several Taliban leaders are based in Pakistan, the Afghan government on Monday said Islamabad is a direct party to the Afghanistan conflict and treating it as a ‘normal neighbour’ would not help the peace process in the war-torn country.
Speaking at the seventh anniversary of the death of Marshall Mohammad Qasim Fahim, Afghanistan First Vice President Amrullah Saleh said without Pakistan, talks with the Taliban is ‘useless’, Sputnik reported.
“Pakistan is a direct party to the Afghan conflict and crisis. Treating them as normal neighbour won’t help the peace process. Defining their role in war and peace must be part of the discussion. Silence, sugar coating, appeasement or simply ignoring it won’t help. Taliban leaders are in Pakistan,” Afghanistan First Vice President Amrullah Saleh said.
Pakistan has been long blamed for providing support to Taliban terrorists in Afghanistan. It is no secret that scores of top Afghan Taliban leaders are hidden in Pakistan.
In December, a series of videos surfaced showing senior Taliban leaders meeting their followers and Taliban fighters in Pakistan.
In the videos, Taliban deputy leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the head of the Taliban political office, was seen holding a briefing with the Taliban cadre on the Afghanistan peace negotiations and acknowledging the presence of the Taliban’s top leadership in Pakistan.
Reacting to the videos, Afghanistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, “The presence of Taliban leaders in Pakistan clearly violates Afghanistan’s national sovereignty”.
Afghanistan had also urged Islamabad ‘not to allow its territory to be used by insurgents and elements, who insist on continuing the war and bloodshed’.
“Meaningful peace and security will not come to Afghanistan until the issue of Pakistan’s relentless disposition to meddle in Afghanistan’s affairs is properly addressed, and it is wishful thinking to believe otherwise,” Professor asserted that Pakistan needs to mend its ways.
The UN Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team to the 1988 Sanctions Committee, which oversees sanctions on the Taliban, in its 2019 report had acknowledged that nearly 5,000 terrorists belonging to Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, which is based in Pakistan, were active in Kunar and Nangarhar provinces of Afghanistan alone.
In December, former Pakistan senator Afrasiab Khattak said Pakistan is using the Taliban as a ‘tool’ for its dominance in Afghanistan under the pretext of strategic depth.
“They [Pakistan] want dominance in Afghanistan under the pretext of strategic depth and they have pursued this policy. They see the Taliban as a tool for themselves,” Khattak said in an interview with TOLOnews.
“We can say that their (the Taliban’s) approach has changed if they stop violence and say that they will feel the people’s pain,” Khattak said.
(With inputs from agencies)