A top U.S. general on Monday urged Pakistan to make a commitment towards reducing violence in Afghanistan and encourage Taliban to pursue peace talks with the Afghan government.
Addressing a joint news conference on Monday in Kabul, the commander of the U.S. Central Command, General Joseph Votel said that their role in Afghanistan is to support the Afghan peace process.
“Our role here is to be as supportive as we can be to the Afghan-led, Afghan-owned peace process. So we are gonna do everything we can to support that process,” he said.
General Votel, meanwhile, said that Pakistan has shown some positive indications in the fight against terrorism in the region, but he believes Islamabad should make a commitment to helping to lower the violence in Afghanistan.
“There have been some positive indications and some things that Pakistan has done, but what we really need, we really need Pakistan to make a commitment to helping to lower the violence here in Afghanistan and to be as helpful as it can be and encouraging the Taliban to pursue these peace opportunities that are before us right now,” he added.
Referring to recent reports of indirect talks between Afghan Taliban and U.S. officials, the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan General John Nicholson said: “With respect to specific negotiations, of course, you can talk to the State Department.”
“We are going to work with Afghanistan and we are willing to support and participate in these peace talks with the Taliban,” Nicholson said.
He further said that they had two peace offers on the table; the unconditional peace offer which was made by President Ashraf Ghani and an open letter by the Taliban to the American people.
“In this letter, they outlined the basic elements of a negotiation and position. So when you put these two positions side by side and now you have the starting point for a negotiation,” Nicholson said.
Regarding the arrival of Afghan Vice President General Abdul Rashid Dostum in Kabul, the Nicholson said: “With respect to First Vice President Dostum returning, from a security perspective, we hope this leads to a greater stability in the north-west part of the country.”
“But with respect to other dimensions, it is a matter for the Afghan government and of course we and the United States respect the rule of law.”