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ISLAMABAD: Adviser to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz on Sunday said the United States wants Pakistan to act against the Afghan Taliban but "Pakistan cannot fight Afghanistan's war on its own soil".

In an interview with the state-owned Pakistan Television (PTV), Aziz maintained that US authorities have the "misconception" that Pakistan is backing certain Taliban groups or the Haqqani network, while in reality Pakistan has effectively demolished their whole infrastructure during Operation Zarb-i-Azb.

Related: US urges Pakistan to go after Afghan Taliban leaders

"Most of the groups fighting in Afghanistan are fighting from within Afghanistan, but the perception persists that Pakistan should take action against them," said Aziz.

Answering a question regarding the peace dialogue, the foreign affairs adviser stated that Pakistan had succeeded in forming the Quadrilateral Co-ordination Group (QCG) during last year's Heart of Asia Conference and the group had formed a good working mechanism.

"Our viewpoint was that you (NATO and ISAF) have been fighting for the last 15 years but could not bring peace, now dialogue remains the only option, even if the Taliban cannot occupy Afghanistan they can still continue the fight for years to come."

He, however, lamented that both Afghan authorities and Taliban are divided over the issue of talks.

Related: Afghan Taliban reject peace talks, vow to continue fighting

"We can only bring Taliban to the negotiating table using our influence, but ultimately Afghanistan has to talk with them, they (Afghan government) should strengthen their position on the ground and secondly they should offer them (Taliban) something which they cannot gain on the battlefield. In the end, the process should be consistent," Aziz explained.

He expressed hope and stated that if situation on the ground remains favourable for the Afghanistan government, peace talks could start.

Related: Pakistan can't tolerate increasing India-Afghan friendly ties: Karzai

In regards to the recent border tensions with Afghanistan, Aziz said, "A strong and regulated border is in the interest of both the countries".

He added that he hopes visit of Afghanistan's deputy foreign minister will help resolve the issue on Monday.

'US wanted to contain Pakistan's nuclear programme'

The foreign affairs adviser said during the current government's tenure, the bilateral relations were restored on a larger scale but Pakistan has rejected US pressure on the country's nuclear programme.

"It is a matter of our national security."

Aziz added that when the incumbent government came to power, the US-Pakistan relations were at their lowest ebb due to Raymond Davis, Salala attack and the Abbottabad issue, but the present set-up has revived the strategic dialogue with US and urged has the US to extend cooperation with Pakistan on all levels despite a change in US priorities for the region.

"Former president Musharraf in an interview admitted providing them (US authorities) verbal understanding on such strikes in the tribal areas. During PPP's tenure too, perhaps there collusion with US on it. The current PML-N government has taken a strong stance and gradually such strikes have decreased in frequency.

Related: Gilani, officials deny US drone collusion

"In 2010, there were 117 drone strikes, but in 2014 there were only 12 and in this year, only three drone strikes were conducted, we raised our voice on international level on this issue and went to International Human Rights Council" said Aziz.

About China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, Aziz stated Pakistan is speedily moving forward on the projects and is aware of all internal and external conspiracies against the corridor.

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Comments (35) Closed

azfar Jun 19, 2016 10:55pm

Too little; too late. Imagine this comes after US admits India into its priveleged military technology zone, and backs up its membership into NSG. Mr Aziz is a mere spokesman of certain policies, but where are these gestated, debated, and implemented, I don't think, he has more than an ordinary citizen's knowledge.

Ilias from NL Jun 19, 2016 11:05pm

Mr. Sartaj Aziz, the nation will be remember you in good faith if you keep diplomatic forums activated to achieve political goals in favor of Pakistan's strategic depth. I admires your time and efforts you putting for a prosper Pakistan.

Truth Lover Jun 19, 2016 11:55pm

Since more than 35 years we have been supporting them financially and otherwise to use them as our strategic assets. Even if we pretend to be disassociated from them, others haven't forgotten the past. Can we explain they get our passports so easily and travel freely in and out of the country? Is it another intelligence failure? How long do you want to cover up these things?

INDIAN Jun 20, 2016 12:27am

I am very supportive of good Indo-Pak relationship. But I think there has to be a certain mind shift at both the ends for this to happen, of course my biased view is a little more on Pakistan end.

Look at the matter Sartaj Aziz needs to spend time, talking about waging wars, etc, whereas on the same day Indian Foreign Minister talks about establishing good relationship with every country in the world, including Pakistan.

Let's put in effort to establish good relationship with all our neighbors, and defeat poverty!

Atif Jun 20, 2016 12:44am

Good work

CHANAKYA Jun 20, 2016 12:58am

Your entire foreign policy is based on "please do more" dictations from USA or Arabs for small gains.Now is this new stand for domestic consumption ...????

adil Jun 20, 2016 01:08am

USA can not blame Pakistan for not taking more action when they have totally failed more than decade in Afghanistan. What worry them is how to get out without being blame for the mess?

Abdulla Hussain Jun 20, 2016 01:24am

'We cannot fight Afghanistan's war on our soil'

100 % Correct, Pakistan should not fight anymore for anyone. enough is enough, this do more theory has inflicted enough wounds on Pakistan, whatever comes no to do more theory.

flying star Jun 20, 2016 01:46am

Afghanistan war is not our war,yes mr. Aziz,seal the border,and send all afghani refugies in there contry

Singh Jun 20, 2016 01:52am

"We can only bring Taliban to the negotiating table using our influence," One can't have influence until unless hand in gloves. Mr. SA admit openly many many time. It is time now for world to ponder over this and take concrete step to end this "INFLUENCE" & bring peace to region.

dr.samad Jun 20, 2016 02:58am

it is the need of remaking of foreign policy.....

Anjan Jun 20, 2016 02:59am

Well said Mr. Aziz... at times it is not clear to understand how USA pressure is being handled.

javed Jun 20, 2016 03:00am

Remember, Strategic Depth can only be achieved through a Confederate Agreement.

Khwarezmi Jun 20, 2016 03:51am

WHEN will Nawaz Sharif appoint a Foreign Minister?

Ayub Jun 20, 2016 04:04am

What does the term "strategic dialogue" mean? The nation has got fed up with this term. Don't we also have other areas of cooperation with US beyond the strategic one?

Dr. Salaria, Aaminr Ahmad? Jun 20, 2016 04:21am

Yes, that's 100 percent right.

Pakistani Guy Jun 20, 2016 04:25am

Very well said. Sartaj Aziz is doing a fine job. One measure of that is the fact that his straight talk in the diplomatic language often leaves conspiracy-hatches against Pakistan at a loss for response. Great example of civil-military combo success in Pakistan.

Najeebullah Jun 20, 2016 04:38am

So the decades old policy continues.

Mirza Jun 20, 2016 04:44am

You can not fight any body's war on Pakistani soil. Period

TruthOnly Jun 20, 2016 05:03am

Good sense sensed!

Omar Jun 20, 2016 05:17am

Pakistan is tired of Afghanistan and all the problems associated with country which has been further soured by the lack of gratitude afghans display. We need a strong regulated border between the two countries and strict control on movements of people across it.

irfan Jun 20, 2016 05:36am

Should have been made such policy comments much earlier and in much stronger way.

RIZ Jun 20, 2016 06:38am

Let's promote peace and no more war for last sixteen years thousands innocent have died in this war which is not ours from day 1. All Pakistan need is Good leader to run the country the day we get one everything will change.

Satt Jun 20, 2016 07:45am

Denial the best policy of Pakistan.They are getting jolts on foreign policy levels these days because they forget this "policy of denial" now they are slowly going back to their best policy.

hope Jun 20, 2016 11:35am

His statement is more like an afford to convince and impress Pakistani people.

Wariss Jun 20, 2016 12:44pm

Can't fight but we can support them.

ahmad Jun 20, 2016 01:18pm

i think imran khan said something similar, and he was vendalized by words from those who are supporting it now.

Ind Jun 20, 2016 02:01pm

US can not provide 8 F16 for war on terror and

Pakistan has lost its 90,000 citizen, billions $ economic loss and thousands IDPs

only in US war on terror.

Now US should do some thing like invest $100 billion in Pakistan economy

Muhammad Jun 20, 2016 05:54pm

Alas ! after 35 years of adventurism in Afghanistan and loss of hundreds of thousands of lives and billions of rupees in loss of business our Government realized her mistakes

Valiya Jun 21, 2016 10:41am

@CHANAKYA No "please do more"only "do more"

Indian Lions Jun 21, 2016 12:52pm

Everyone is against Pakistan. Ever wondered why? Faulty policies, immoral practices in govt and military

Inzy Jun 21, 2016 01:56pm

We can never fight and win a war if we don't think it is our war. If we continue to believe that we are fighting US war, we can never win it. We do not acknowledge that it is a existential war that we are fighting to eliminate extremists and jihadis who want to take us back to stone age.

dawn Jun 21, 2016 03:56pm

Waking up! I could have advised you this 10 years ago.

akshay Jun 21, 2016 08:58pm

Who wants Pakistan to fight Afghanistan's war? All the world wants is that Pakistan dismantle these terrorists organisation from its soil who are using Pak territory as safe heaven.

jam shed Jun 21, 2016 09:33pm

@akshay We asked the world the same thing in 1971 India to dismantle terrorist dens in her territory. Did any one in the world listened?