Oct 30, 2013, 10:46 AM
News Code: 80881628
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Pakistani PM asks Afghan Taliban to talk to Karzai gov't

Islamabad, Oct 30, IRNA – Pakistani Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, in his first public appeal to the Afghan Taliban, has asked them to join direct talks with the Kabul-backed peace council aimed at ending the years-old war in the neighbouring country.

Sharif made rare appeal to the Taliban hours before his meeting with President Hamid Karzai at a trilateral summit in London.

British PM hosted the summit that mainly focused on Afghan reconciliation process.

“We want the Taliban become part of the peace process in Afghanistan. We want they talk to the High Peace Council,” Nawaz Sharif told a group of Pakistani journalists in London, state radio reported.

This is the second time a Pakistani leader has made a public appeal to the Afghan Taliban, who have so far refused to talk to the Karzai government on the plea that Kabul has no power.

Former premier Yusuf Raza Gilani had appealed to the Taliban and Hizb-e-Islami, to participate in an intra-Afghan process for national reconciliation and peace in February last year in response to President Karzai's request for help in the peace process.

Afghan government and its western allies believe that Islamabad still enjoy deep influence on the Taliban and can encourage them to join the peace process.

Pakistan says it had facilitated the opening of the Taliban political office in Qatar in June however the office was closed just days after its opening over the Taliban flag and of the Islamic Emirate, the name Taliban had used for their government.

On appeal from President Karzai, Pakistan has freed nearly 33 Afghan Taliban detainees to push for the peace process over the past ten months. However, none of the freed Taliban has joined the peace process.

Pakistan announced last month that it has freed senior Taliban leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar on the appeal from President Karzai. However, Kabul now says Mullah Baradar has not yet been allowed a free movement.

Afghan officials say President Karzai will ask for whereabouts of Mullah Baradar when he meets Prime Minister Sharif in London later on Tuesday.

Nawaz Sharif urged the Afghan Taliban not to keep themselves out of the intra-Afghan dialogue as this will bring stability to Afghanistan.

“All sides should join the peace process. It will ensure stability in Afghanistan and stability there will bring stability to Pakistan and the whole region,” the Pakistani PM said. He also stressed on Pakistan role in the Afghan peace process.