Kabul has started discussions with Qatar government to close the Taliban’s office in Doha as it has had “no positive consequence in terms of facilitating the peace talks with the group in Afghanistan”, a senior Afghan government official said.
There is no need to keep the office open, said Mohammad Hanif Atmar, the National Security Advisor to President Ashraf Ghani.
He made the remarks in an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, a daily newspaper in the Middle East, this week.
"The (Taliban’s) Qatar office had no benefit for us even after seven years. We are discussing with Qatar government that this office had no positive result in the peace process and it is better to close it,” Atmar said in the interview.
“The aim behind opening of this office was to start official peace negotiations with the Taliban from the address, but so far no official negotiation from the office has been started with government. Even a single step has not been taken forward in the peace process through this office,” Qadir Shah, a spokesman for Atmar’s office said.
Atmar said in the interview that Kabul has so far witnessed no sign of sincere cooperation from Islamabad in counterterrorism efforts.
This comes as the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is set to include Pakistan in its “grey list” of nations not doing enough to counter terror financing and money laundering after the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and China withdraw their opposition to the move.
The resolution was initially opposed by Saudi Arabia, which was acting on behalf of GCC, China and Turkey. In the final vote, only Turkey backed Pakistan, according to sources. The resolution was meanwhile backed by the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany and France.
Commenting on this, President Ashraf Ghani’s deputy spokesman Dawa Khan Minapal, said: “Afghan government is trying to mobilize the neighboring and regional countries in anti-insurgency efforts through Kabul process.”
At least 10 days ago, the United States put forward a motion to place Pakistan on a global terrorist-financing watchlist with the FATF. Washington has asked France and Germany to support the move against Pakistan.
“The secretary believes that Pakistan has an opportunity to do more with respect to the regional security. And that it is in its interests to do more with respect to the regional security. It is an opportunity and would welcome Pakistan's involvement,” Pentagon spokesperson Dana White said.
"For the first time, we are holding Pakistan accountable for its actions, seen modest progress in terms of Pakistan's actual acknowledgment of these concerns, but the president is not satisfied with progress when it comes to Pakistan," White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah said.