Islamabad ‘supports’ Kabul peace process

Islamabad ‘supports’ Kabul peace process

KABUL - Reuters
Islamabad ‘supports’ Kabul peace process

Afghan border policemen escort a detained suspected Taliban fighter in Paktika province near the border with Pakistan in this November photo. REUTERS photo

Pakistan is genuine about backing the nascent Afghan peace process and shares the Kabul government’s goal of transforming the Taliban insurgency into a political movement, a senior Afghan government official said.

“They have told us that they share the vision contained in our roadmap which is basically to transform the Taliban from a military entity into a political entity to enable them to take part in the Afghan political process and peacefully seek power like any other political entity in Afghanistan,” he said.

“This is the vision that they share.” The official, who is closely involved in reconciliation efforts, said recent face-to-face talks between senior Taliban members and Afghan officials in France were an “enormously helpful” step in building a wider environment for peace. Until now, the Taliban and Afghan officials only made indirect contacts. “We are very optimistic. We believe that they are genuine in this discussion with us,” said the senior government official.

Fears on spread of insurgency

Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, arguably the most powerful man in Pakistan, is backing dialogue partly due to fears that the end of the U.S. combat mission in Afghanistan in 2014 could energize a resilient insurgency straddling the shared frontier, according to commanders in the region.