KABUL: Kabul has no plans to revive a peace process aimed at bringing the Taliban to the negotiating table after a four-nation effort earlier this year produced no results, the spokesman of the Afghan president said Thursday.
Foreign Office Spokesman Nafees Zakaria, responding to the remarks, reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to the four-nation group ─ comprising Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and the United States ─ for revival of the Afghan peace process.
“Peace and stability in Afghanistan has a direct impact on Pakistan and it has been Pakistan’s effort to push forward endeavours for peace and stability,” he said.
Haroon Chakhansuri, President Ashraf Ghani’s spokesman, said the four-nation group has no plans to meet again anytime soon.
The group has met five times since January, in Kabul and Pakistan. The meetings did not include the Taliban, who have refused to join peace talks.
“There is no set time for another meeting of the group,” Chakhansuri told The Associated Press.
Afghanistan continues to suffer from “terrorist groups that operate from and have a support base in Pakistan”, Chakhansuri said.
Commenting on Chakhansuri’s remarks the FO spokesman said, “Such remarks will be helpful to elements who do not wish to see the peace process moving forward.”
“Pakistan is engaged in the fight against terrorism and the world community has lauded Pakistan’s efforts in the fight against terrorism,” Zakaria said.
A senior Pakistani security official familiar with the Afghan peace process echoed Chakhansuri’s statement. The official spoke to AP on condition of anonymity as he was not authorised to speak to the media.
“The peace talks between the Taliban and Kabul are not likely to be resumed soon,” he said, adding that “neither the Taliban nor Afghan government are interested in reviving” the talks.
Ghani took office in 2014 promising peace and began overtures to Islamabad aimed at ending the war.
Following a number of large-scale suicide attacks in Kabul, Ghani cut the dialogue with Pakistan, demanding Islamabad cease support for the Taliban and its close affiliate, the Haqqani network.
Earlier this month while speaking at a Nato summit, Ghani said Afghanistan’s regional initiatives with neighbours “are beginning to yield significant cooperative dividends. However, the exception is with Pakistan.”
He added that despite clear commitments to the quadrilateral peace process, “Pakistan’s dangerous distinction between good and bad terrorists is being maintained in practice.”
The Foreign Office had responded to Ghani’s remarks with ‘disappointment’.
“It is unfortunate that Afghan leaders continue to make hostile statements against Pakistan and blame Pakistan for all failures in Afghanistan,” FO spokesman Nafees Zakaria had said, adding that Pakistan would continue to make every effort to help bring peace in Afghanistan.
Zakaria said that Pakistan also expects cooperation from Afghan government in its fight against terrorism through effective border management and denying sanctuaries to anti-Pakistan terrorists from Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).
“The need of the hour is close cooperation between Afghanistan and Pakistan rather than constant blame game by the Afghan government based on assumptions,” the FO spokesman had said.