FO accuses Afghan official of trying to damage peace talks

Published June 19, 2021
In this file photo, Afghanistan's National Security Advisor Hamdullah Mohib speaks during a news conference in Kabul, Afghanistan. — Reuters
In this file photo, Afghanistan's National Security Advisor Hamdullah Mohib speaks during a news conference in Kabul, Afghanistan. — Reuters

ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office on Friday accused Afghanistan’s National Security Adviser Hamdullah Mohib of trying to reverse the progress made in the Afghan peace talks.

In a rejoinder to a tweet by Mr Mohib on Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s interview with Afghanistan’s Tolonews, the FO said, “repeated impertinent and unwarranted remarks” were “a calculated attempt by his office to disregard and nullify the progress in the peace process so far”.

The Afghan NSA had earlier tweeted that Mr Qureshi’s interview “comes as Taliban launches violent offensives against Afghan people across the country, we know how & why they continue to be enabled to do this. Quraishi is either uninformed, ignorant or accomplice. Maybe he also rejects that, Osama was found next to Pakistani Military HQ.”

The spat between Mr Mohib and FO started after former’s abusive remarks against Pakistan last month. Islamabad later in protest over the remarks ended all official contacts with the Afghan NSA.

“Pakistan’s role in the Afghan Peace Process has been widely acknowledged by the international community,” the FO recalled.

The statement emphasised that Pakistan and Afghanistan had previously agreed in Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APAPPS) to avoid public blame-game and use official channels to discuss issues in bilateral relations.

“Statements that erode mutual trust should be avoided,” it added.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi met with Chairman Afghan High Council for National Reconciliation (HCNR) Abdullah Abdullah, on the sidelines of Antalya Diplomacy Forum in Turkey, on Friday.

Mr Qureshi urged the Afghan leaders to expedite progress in intra-Afghan negotiations for lasting peace in Afghanistan. The talks between Kabul and Taliban in Qatar are currently stalemated.

He reminded Mr Abdullah of Pakistan’s facilitation of the direct talks between US and Taliban as well as the Afghan parties and said that it was now up to the Afghan leaders to seize the historic opportunity and reach an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive settlement.

Emphasising the importance of the progress in the Afghan peace process, the foreign minister said, it was critical to reduce space for spoilers, who did not wish to see return of peace in the region.

“Negative statements and blame game only served to vitiate the environment and strengthen the hand of spoilers who wished to derail the peace process,” he added.

Published in Dawn, June 19th, 2021

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