- Afghanistan acknowledges Pakistan’s support for the peace process but concerned about the presence of Taliban fighters, leaders in its territory.
- “It is with deepest regret and concern that some Taliban leaders were seen in the videos visiting training camps,” says Afghanistan FO.
Afghanistan government has expressed concerns over the presence of Afghan Taliban leaders in Pakistan saying it is a clear violation of their national sovereignty and would continue to cause crisis and instability in the region.
A video made rounds on social media a few days ago, showed deputy Taliban leader and head of the group’s peace delegation Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar among a group of purported Taliban members in Karachi.
In the footage, he is seen telling a crowd that the peace process is being finalized in consultation with Taliban leaders in Pakistan.
Baradar was in Pakistan last week with other Taliban delegates to meet top Pakistani officials in the latest attempt to push forward peace talks between the group and the government in Kabul, to end decades of war.
In response to the video, the Foreign Ministry of Afghanistan in a statement said that the presence and activities of Afghan insurgent elements and their leaders in Pakistani territory clearly violate Afghanistan’s national sovereignty and continue to cause crisis and instability in the region, posing a serious challenge to achieving sustainable peace in Afghanistan.
On December 16, the minister said that the Taliban delegation’s visit to Pakistan was taking place in consultation with the Kabul government.
However, following the emergence of the clip, it said that while the visit initially “raised further hopes for taking practical steps toward stopping the bloodshed and bringing about sustainable peace in Afghanistan,” the footage “disclosed” the presence of Taliban leaders in Pakistani territory.
“It is with deepest regret and concern that some Taliban leaders were seen in the videos visiting training camps,” the statement read.
As per the Arab News, Neither the Pakistani government nor the Taliban immediately responded over the development.
Furthermore, it said that the visit of Taliban representatives to Pakistan and their negotiations with Pakistani officials raised further hopes for taking practical steps toward stopping the bloodshed and bringing about sustainable peace in Afghanistan.
“The leadership of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan assured the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan that it would employ all available means and potentials towards reducing violence, establishing a ceasefire, and paving the ground for a peaceful resolution of the Afghan crisis,” read the statement.
“To that end, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan expressed its gratitude and appreciation for the Pakistani Government’s recent efforts to advance the [Afghan] peace process.”
It is pertinent to mention here that Kabul has long accused Pakistan of giving shelter to the Afghan Taliban following the group’s ouster in the 2001 US-led invasion of Afghanistan. Islamabad has always denied that claim.