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Kabul taking steps for dialogue with Taliban: Rabbani

Published Sep 03, 2007 12:00am

PESHAWAR, Sept 2: Former Afghan President Prof Burhanuddin Rabbani has said that the Afghan government has taken numerous measures to engage Taliban in a dialogue in an effort to restore peace to his embattled country.

“Without the participation of Taliban and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, peace cannot be established in the war-ravaged country,” he told participants of a one-day seminar entitled “Pak-Afghan Relations” here on Sunday.

“Talks are a better way to resolve problems than guns. Wars make problems worse instead of resolving them. We have to adopt the path of talks,” he said.

Mr Rabbani said he was strongly opposed to the proposed US plan of moving US forces from Iraq to Afghanistan and said it would make no difference. He said the situation could further aggravate, it the US went ahead with the plan.

He said some international powers were afraid of better relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

He said the US and Nato forces had come to Afghanistan not to serve its people, but they had their own vested interests.

He called upon Pakistan and Afghanistan to resolve all problems through talks instead of engaging other foreign countries.

He said the foreign policy of Afghanistan was aimed at developing friendly relations with all countries, with special focus on neighbouring countries. “I believe in the simple fact that Pakistan is for Afghanistan and the vice versa,” Prof Rabbani observed.

Former Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) director-general Lt-Gen (retd) Asad Durrani denied that Pakistan was involved in establishing a friendly government in Afghanistan.

“We believe that a government, acceptable to its people, is a friendly government,” he said.

“So far as the question of Pakistan’s interest in strategic depth is concerned I would say that of course its significance can’t be denied but not at the cost of freedom of any country,” he said.

Referring to the mayhem in the tribal areas of Pakistan, the former spy chief said that the Pakistan Army had no morale as it was operating against its own people.

Brig (retd) Mahmood Shah said that Pakistan wanted peace in Afghanistan as its own stability was linked to it. About Afghan government’s allegations of infiltration of militants into its territory from Pakistan, he said it was impossible for Pakistan to monitor such a long and porous border.

About militancy in the tribal region, he said the deployment of the army in these areas for such a long period was not a wise decision.

He asked the government to withdraw troops from tribal areas and the political administration should be augmented and mandated to resolve all issues in line with tribal traditions.