Pakistan urges Afghan insurgents to pursue peace
Pakistan has urged Afghan insurgent groups, including the Haqqani network, to pursue peace. However, it fears that political factions opposed to the Taliban could undermine reconciliation efforts, according to Pakistan ambassador Muhammad Sadiq.
Sadiq was speaking just ahead of a visit by an Afghan peace council to Pakistan to discuss solutions to the war with the Taliban.
"The prime minister of Pakistan had appealed to all insurgent groups to engage in negotiations. We will encourage all insurgents. We will encourage the entire armed opposition of Afghanistan to participate in peace negotiations with the Afghan government," the Daily Times quoted Sadiq, as saying.
Sadiq suggested U.S. efforts would be better directed at engaging insurgent groups - rather than attempting to defeat them by launching military strikes against their leaders.
"Afghans are much more united in wanting to join the reconciliation process than they were two years ago. But still there are very important people who fought against the Taliban and are not still ready to talk and negotiate with the Taliban. And we are working with them," said Sadiq.
Sadiq was referring to former members of the Northern Alliance, which toppled the Taliban in 2001 with U.S. backing. Some now occupy government positions or are in the opposition.
The Haqqani faction is seen as the most dangerous Afghan militant group, blamed for high-profile attacks in Kabul and other cities. Earlier in August, top commander of the group, Badruddin Haqqani, had been killed in a U.S. drone strike in Pakistan.
"I think normally with insurgents one thing is very clear - that deaths have not weakened them because they replace commanders very quickly. They're able to replace them in a day or so," said Sadiq.