The Foreign Office (FO) on Monday conveyed its serious concerns to Afghanistan regarding recent "irresponsible statements and baseless allegations" made by the Afghan leadership against Pakistan with regards to its relationship with the Afghan Taliban.
In a statement, FO spokesman Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said that Pakistan had conveyed its concerns by making a strong demarche with the Afghan ambassador in Islamabad.
"Pakistan has emphasised that groundless accusations erode trust and vitiate the environment between the two brotherly countries and disregard the constructive role being played by Pakistan in facilitating the Afghan peace process.
"The Afghan side has been urged to effectively utilise available forums, like the Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity, to address all bilateral issues," the FO spokesperson said.
The FO statement comes days after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani — in an interview with a German publication — claimed that Pakistan "operated an organised system of support" for the Taliban, adding that the Taliban "receive logistics there, their finances are there and recruitment is there".
"The names of the various decision-making bodies of the Taliban are Quetta Shura, Miramshah Shura and Peshawar Shura — named after the Pakistani cities where they are located. There is a deep relationship with the state," Ghani told German weekly news magazine Der Spiegel.
Asked whether he still believed in a peace process, Ghani said: "Peace will primarily be decided upon regionally, and I believe we are at a crucial moment of rethinking. It is first and foremost a matter of getting Pakistan on board. The US now plays only a minor role. The question of peace or hostility is now in Pakistani hands."
He said that Chief of Army Staff Qamar Javed Bajwa had assured him that the restoration of the Emirate or dictatorship by the Taliban was not in anybody’s interest in the region, especially Pakistan.
"However, he said, some of the lower levels in the army still hold the opposite opinion in certain cases. It is primarily a question of political will," Ghani said.
Asked what the Europeans could contribute to the peace process, the Afghan president said: "They can do a lot. After all, Pakistan is a state; this state has to make an important decision now. Clear messages and incentives from Germany will help — and, conversely, they should introduce sanctions if the decision goes in a different direction than hoped. As Europeans, you should not see yourself as observers; you are a direct part of these events."
Regarding a future security arrangement between Afghanistan and Pakistan as the key to peace, he said: "Most certainly an important key. But my goal is the neutrality of Afghanistan. We don't want a new protecting power, and we don't want to be part of regional or international rivalries."