Afghan Ambassador to Pakistan Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal has said the Taliban has chosen war over peace talks with Afghanistan as the group believes this will help them reach their goals.
He said: “Taliban believes in war and they [Taliban] think by continuing the war they can reach their goals in Afghanistan, especially in the upcoming war season, which is a big hindrance to peace,” said Zakhilwal.
His comments come after Pakistan’s national security advisor, Sartaj Aziz, recently voiced concern over the rejection of peace talks by the Taliban. He said Pakistan can play a vital role in Afghanistan’s peace process but cannot directly order the Taliban to join the negotiations.
In reaction to Aziz’s remarks the Afghan government said if the Taliban does not join the peace talks the group will face the full wrath of the security forces.
“Our request from Pakistan is that on the basis of agreements bring Taliban to the table and if this does not happen we, on the basis of quadrilateral meeting agreements, have fully prepared ourselves for military operations against the Taliban,” said President Ashraf Ghani’s deputy spokesman Dawa Khan Menapal.
However, there are still skeptics who claim Pakistan is not being honest in its dealings with Kabul.
“Afghanistan also reaches the conclusion that waiting for Pakistan’s commitments is a mistake and Pakistan’s promises are false and waste time,” said deputy speaker of the senate Abdullah Qarloq.
Meanwhile Pakistani analysts believe that the new stance of the Taliban is a sign that they are not interested in peace talks.
“Taliban are worrying about their disparities and if they go for peace talks the disparities will be increased,” said Rahimullah Yousofzai, a Pakistani political analyst.
It was hoped that the Afghan delegation and the Taliban would meet in direct face-to-face talks in early March. However, the Taliban refused to join the process – resulting in the current deadlock.