A senior member of Pakistan's army has said that his country will not support the Taliban, reiterating that they only aim for enduring peace in Afghanistan.
“Afghanistan now is not what it was in 90s and the state infrastructure cannot be trounced easily, and Pakistan also has changed,” the director general of Pakistan's Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Babar Iftikhar said as quoted by International The News.
“It’s impossible for the Taliban to recapture Kabul and that Pakistan would support them. It isn’t going to happen,” he said over talks about foreign troops withdrawal from Afghanistan.
“Even Afghan leaders are admitting that Pakistan has done utmost for peace in Afghanistan,” he said.
Gen. Iftikhar said that it is for the citizens and the government of Afghanistan to determine the future of their country, how the dialogue process would further, and who they back to take it on.
“We only aim for a long-lasting peace in Afghanistan,” he said.
He added that the policy of the Pakistan government to extend a hand of peace to the neighbours was very clear, according to The News report.
Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani has on Wednesday that the way had been paved for more serious peace talks with the Taliban.
The statement comes two days after a meeting was held between heads and some members of the negotiating teams in Doha and the meeting reportedly focused on the continuation of the negotiations.
In a meeting with members of Afghanistan’s parliament on Wednesday, Ghani said that the move by the NATO alliance to hold off on a decision about the troop pullout will help the Afghan peace process.
“The decision by NATO sends a big message,” said Ghani.
Last week, the NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said at end of the two NATO defense ministers’ meetings in Brussels that the military alliance will only leave Afghanistan when security conditions on the ground allow it.
Stoltenberg said that at this stage, the alliance has not made a final decision about a troop presence in Afghanistan.
“At this stage, we have made no final decision on the future of our presence, but, as the May 1 deadline is approaching, NATO Allies will continue to closely consult and coordinate in the coming weeks,” said Stoltenberg at a press conference in Brussels.
“We remain committed to our Resolute Support mission, with training and funding for the brave Afghan security forces,” he said.
“Defence Ministers had a thorough discussion on the situation in Afghanistan. We are faced with many dilemmas and there are no easy options,” he said.
On Wednesday, also the Afghan Foreign Minister Mohammad Hanif Atmar has traveled to Moscow to discuss the peace talks.
“The purpose of this trip is to enhance bilateral relations and to strengthen regional consensus on the Afghan peace,” said Gran Hewad, a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
His trip comes five days after the MoFA reacted to recent remarks by Russian envoy for Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov, who said he favors an inclusive and transitional coalition government in Afghanistan and that the Taliban has not violated their deal with the United States.
MoFA said that some remarks by Mr. Kabulov were "not based on realities in Afghanistan" and in some ways were contrary to official statements by the Russian Federation, which Kabul sees as a "friend."
The ministry said that the unjustifiable exaggerations of “a forbidden group in Russia” is in contravention of Russia’s willingness to fight against the threat of terrorism and extremism in the region and to achieve lasting peace based on the demand of Afghans. The ministry added that such remarks do not match the two countries’ mutual interests.