Afghanistan’s Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah says Pakistan has not changed its policy towards the Taliban despite the country has made promises to bring the “reconcilable” Taliban to the negotiation table.
Speaking at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, Abdullah said: “We believe that Pakistan has significant influence over the Taliban in comparison to any other country. Other countries also have established contacts and produce some leverages.”
Responding to the questions, Abdullah said: “The point is that real change has not taken place as far as their [Pakistan] policy towards Taliban. In the past they have made promises that they will bring the reconcilable Taliban to the negotiating table and pressurize the others. We have seen none in that sense. But still, we are hopeful.”
“We will continue our engagements with the neighborhood, with all the countries in the neighborhood, those who have some influence and leverages, with the hope that, based on the lessons which are there for all of us—it’s not just for Afghanistan—supporting these radical terrorist groups will not serve any country’s legitimate real interest,” he said.
CE Abdullah stressed that the government believes in peace talks with the Taliban, but he said it’s not taking place as of yet.
“There are contacts here and there, direct contacts or contacts by our allies, with the Taliban. And for the talks to get serious nature, a few things are required,” he said, adding that those who are supporting Taliban need to “convinced or persuaded” to stop the support, referring to Pakistan as “key” to the issue.
“Inside the country, if Taliban are not under pressure, they might not be inclined to enter the talks. That is inside—I mean military pressure; and then, at the same time, efforts by us, or together with our partners, to seize the opportunities and moments when it counts,” he said.
Abdullah also said that until now the Taliban have been reluctant to enter serious negotiations.
“In these contacts, which have been made in the past few months, either with the United States or with other countries which are—their intention has been to facilitate talks between Taliban and the Afghan government. Taliban have only used it for their own propaganda,” he said.