‘Spoilers’ may try to sabotage peace process in Afghanistan: Pakistan Foreign Minister

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stands with Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi at the Department of State in Washington, Friday, Jan.17, 2020.   | Photo Credit: AP

Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Sunday warned that “spoilers” could try to sabotage the peace process in Afghanistan, a day after the US and the Taliban signed a landmark deal in Doha to bring lasting peace in the war-torn country.

Mr. Qureshi was among several foreign dignitaries who attended the signing ceremony in Qatar on Saturday.

Addressing a press conference in Islamabad on his return from Doha, Mr. Qureshi said he met US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo after the signing ceremony and highlighted that it was important to deter the “spoilers”.

“There are spoilers both within Afghanistan and outside, you will have to keep a lookout for them and deter them. You have to identify them and put them to blame and shame - a mechanism is needed for that,” he said.

Mr. Qureshi said that he told Mr. Pompeo that it was also key to see the optics of the intra-Afghan dialogue, address political uncertainties in Afghanistan and mobilise international support for its rebuilding.

“The role that Pakistan has played as facilitator was being acknowledged and praised. People who used to criticise Pakistan were appreciating its role yesterday,” he said.

Support from Pakistan

He said Pakistan would extend full support to the intra-Afghan dialogue to bring last peace in the war-torn country, but noted that the ultimate responsibilities were on the Afghans.

“It has to be seen whether the Afghan leadership agrees to sit and make a political roadmap. They are the ones who have to make the decision as to what kind of Afghanistan they want,” he said.

He said Norway had expressed its willingness to hold the intra-Afghan dialogue.

Also read: Taliban starts diplomatic outreach after U.S. deal on Afghanistan

Mr. Qureshi said it would be also important for the Taliban to cut off links with al-Qaeda and other terror groups to the satisfaction of the world.

Mr. Qureshi also said Pakistan expected Afghanistan would not allow any country “such as India or any other, use their soil against Pakistan”.

He said the agreement generated positive momentum which should be maintained and “one thing that can do this is the release of prisoners”.

He said the Taliban were successful in reducing violence across the country which “had not seen such a reduction of violence in the past”.

The foreign minister said the deal signed in Doha could pave the way for full withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan in the next 14 months.

Mr. Qureshi also called the agreement as “harbinger” of peace and said Pakistan would be benefit from peace in Afghanistan.

The US will complete its troop withdrawal from Afghanistan within 14 months with the initial drawdown of forces from a total of 13,000 to 8,600 happening in the next 4 months, according to the deal.

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Printable version | Jan 29, 2022 5:02:05 PM |

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