Pakistan urges all Afghan insurgents to go for peace
12 November, 2012
KABUL: Pakistan hopes to persuade Afghan insurgent groups, including the Haqqani network, to pursue peace but worries resistance from political factions opposed to the Taliban could undermine reconciliation efforts, Islamabad's ambassador said.
Muhammad Sadiq, speaking in an interview, also suggested US efforts would be better directed at engaging insurgent groups — rather than attempting to defeat them by launching military strikes against their leaders.
Sadiq was speaking just ahead of an expected visit to Pakistan by an Afghan peace council due to give Islamabad a road map of how it wants its influential neighbour to help end the war with the Taliban.
"Afghans are much more united in wanting to join the reconciliation process than they were two years ago," he said. "But still there are very important people who fought against the Taliban and are not still ready to talk and negotiate with the Taliban. And we are working with them."
Sadiq was referring to former members of the Northern Alliance, which toppled the Taliban in 2001 with US backing. Some now occupy government positions or are in the opposition.
"The prime minister of Pakistan had appealed to all insurgent groups to engage in negotiations," said Sadiq. "We will encourage all insurgents. We will encourage the entire armed opposition of Afghanistan to participate in peace negotiations with the Afghan government."
The Haqqani faction is seen as the most dangerous Afghan militant group, blamed for high-profile attacks in Kabul and other cities. Afghanistan said in August it believed a top commander of the group, Badruddin Haqqani, had been killed in a US drone strike in Pakistan.
"I think normally with insurgents one thing is very clear - that deaths have not weakened them because they replace commanders very quickly. They're able to replace them in a day or so," said Sadiq, suggesting the Americans should have learned from the Russian experience in Afghanistan in the 1980s.
An official with the council said it would also be pushing Islamabad to repatriate Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Taliban's former second-in-command, in detention in Pakistan.
Asked what Pakistan would be willing to do to push the struggling reconciliation process forward, Sadiq said, "Expectations should be reasonable about what we can do because Pakistan and Taliban are not one party. We don't control them, we don't give them weapons, we do not give money to them."
Sadiq said Afghanistan should strive to make sure any government that runs the country should include all ethnic groups and parties to preclude any repeat of past turmoil.
"A representative government will automatically help in reducing the insurgency, reducing the tension among ethnicities, it will go a long way in preventing a civil war."