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Pakistan vows to do all for Afghan peace

13 November, 2012

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's PM Raja Pervez Ashraf shakes hands with Salahuddin Rabbani, chairman of Afghan Peace Council, before their meeting.
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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf on Monday said the government of Pakistan would do all that it takes for a peaceful Afghanistan.

He stated this while talking to Salahuddain Rabbani, chairman of the Afghan Peace Council, along with members of his delegation, who called on him at the Prime Minister's House and discussed with him matters of bilateral interests.

Raja said there is consensus in Pakistan that both Afghanistan and Pakistan should work together for peace in the region. He expressed the hope the delegation during its visit would hold discussions with Pakistani officials, which will pave the way for closer relations between the two countries.

Rabbani said the people of Afghanistan were grateful to the people of Pakistan for the assistance extended to them during their struggle against the Soviet Union.

Dilating on the incidents of cross-border shelling, both the leaders agreed there should be increased coordination between the two countries to stop such incidents in future. Raja said both countries had to work together and leave a legacy for coming generations, which is peaceful.

Meanwhile, analysts warned that without Taliban involvement little would come of the negotiations. Support from Pakistan is seen as crucial to peace in Afghanistan beyond 2014. Afghan-Pakistani talks were derailed more than a year ago amid a welter of accusations when Rabbani's father, Burhanuddin, then head of the peace council, was assassinated by a suicide bomber in Kabul.

This week's talks come as efforts to end the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan gain a new urgency as the withdrawal of US-led NATO combat troops looms ever closer.

But analyst Rahimullah Yusufzai warned no progress of any substance would be made this week, beyond Rabbani getting to meet the Pakistani side for the first time. "The problem is that the Afghan government has not been in contact with (the) Taliban. Even Rabbani has not been able to get in touch with the Taliban since he became chairman of the council," Yusufzai told AFP.

Yusufzai said while Pakistan has some influence over the Taliban it was unrealistic to think Islamabad could convince the terrorists to return to the negotiating table. Analyst Hasan Askari said while Kabul and Washington might be keen for some kind of accommodation with parts of the Taliban, the group had little incentive to talk, knowing NATO will leave in two years.

"They are waiting for withdrawal of international troops and are confident that they can make life for (the) Kabul government miserable," he told AFP.


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