Afghan FM seeks Pak support for talks with Taliban


The situation in Afghanistan has taken a turn for the worse, with the Taliban launching a blistering campaign and capturing key districts of the country, drastically emboldened as US and other foreign forces gear up to leave the country

News Desk/DNA

KABUL: Afghanistan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Hanif Atmar has sought Pakistan’s help to end the raging conflict in Afghanistan, saying that he hoped Islamabad would persuade the Taliban to return to talks again.

The situation in Afghanistan has taken a turn for the worse, with the Taliban launching a blistering campaign and capturing key districts of the country, drastically emboldened as US and other foreign forces gear up to leave the country.

In an interview with a private TV channel, he said “We are hopeful Pakistan will help Afghanistan disrupt the Taliban’s supply and ‘brutal campaign’,” said the Afghan minister.

In response to a question about whether the Afghan government thinks the US betrayed it, Atmar said that Washington signed an agreement with the Taliban with honest intentions.

“The Taliban did not fulfil their part of the deal and deceived the whole world,” he said. “The Taliban are making a huge mistake. All of us have extended a hand of friendship towards them,” he added.

He said the Afghan government was telling the Taliban to honor the Doha peace deal, adding that Kabul had fulfilled its obligations of the deal when it came to the prisoners exchange and ensuring foreign troops leave the country.

The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Al-Qaeda have banded forces with other terrorist elements and are fighting alongside the Taliban against the government of Afghanistan, said Atmer.

“We are monitoring links between the TTP, Taliban and Al-Qaeda on a daily basis,” said Atmer. “These ties certainly exist.”

The Afghan foreign minister said these ‘elements’ were fighting against the “government and people of Afghanistan” alongside the Taliban, adding that these elements were fighting the Afghanistan government in Badakhshan, Kunduz, Faryab and other provinces of the war-torn country.

Speaking about the militants, Atmar said the Afghan government has divided these groups of foreign fighters into three categories.

“The first among them are the [militant groups] that are fighting for a global agenda, such as Al-Qaeda and Daesh,” he said. “Al-Qaeda and Daesh militants have been present in the region where Pakistan and Afghanistan are situated,” he added.

Atmer said his government was aware of the locations in Pakistan and Afghanistan where Al-Qaeda members were killed and arrested.

“Then, we have regional players,” the Afghan minister said. “[These include] the TTP, Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, ITIM, the Ansarullah and Jundullah are also fighting with them [Taliban],” he added.

“The entire region, not Afghanistan alone, is at threat from these groups,” he stressed. “Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, India, Russia and the Middle East are in danger from these groups,” he said.

Atmer said the government of Afghanistan spoke about regional cooperation as “there are no good or bad terrorists and they all are the same”.

“Peace between Afghanistan and the Taliban will ensure these elements do not find a safe haven in Afghanistan,” he added. Taliban launch blistering campaign as US, other foreign forces prepare to leave Afghanistan

With the US pullout 90% complete, according to the Pentagon, the insurgents have launched a blistering campaign to capture new territory, and fears are mounting that Afghan forces will collapse without vital American air support. President Ashraf Ghani had said the government had the capacity to handle the situation, but admitted difficulties lay ahead.

“What we are witnessing is one of the most complicated stages of the transition,” he had said in a speech in Kabul. The withdrawal of US and NATO troops — after two decades in the country — has drastically emboldened the Taliban, who appear to be pressing for a full military victory.

Supposed peace talks between the insurgents and the government in Doha have largely fizzled out after months of a deadlock. Meanwhile, a meeting between an Afghan government delegation and Taliban representatives in Tehran ended Thursday, Iran’s state news agency said, with both sides urging an end to the fighting, and more talks.

He announced that these troops are now returning home and that most have already departed Afghanistan.  He reiterated that there is no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan and that a sustainable, inclusive peace can only be achieved through a political settlement.