Pak role in Afghan reconciliation process, fighting terrorists acknowledged

WASHINGTON: A senior US general in Afghanistan has praised efforts by Pakistan to put pressure on terrorists operating in the country and for the country’s support to push Taliban to join the peace process.

“We have been pleased with Pakistan’s efforts in two ways: one, their pressure against the Taliban in Pakistan. And then also their agreement to put pressure on the Taliban to join the peace process,” said Brigadier General Wilson Shoffner, Deputy Chief of Staff for communication, Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan.

Speaking to press briefing via video conference, transcript of which was released, Gen. Shoffner said they support the quadrilateral peace talks as the surest way towards ending the violence here in Afghanistan. The Quadrilateral Group includes Pakistan, Afghanistan, China and the United States.

He said, diplomatically, the U.S. has been engaged with Pakistan regarding the peace process and US General Campbell also recently met with Pakistan’s army chief General Raheel Sharif to discuss the peace process. “They have been a willing partner with the Afghans, which we’re encouraged by,” Gen. Shoffner said referring to Pakistan.

He emphasized that the Afghan government and the Pakistani government have a regional approach to dealing with problems in the area. “It can’t just be an Afghan approach or a Pakistan approach; it has got to be a regional approach, because the international terrorists here do not — or the terrorists here do not respect the international boundaries.”

The General said that the Haqqani network remains a concern for the United States and said a leader of the Haqqani Network holds number two position in the Taliban and the group has pledged loyalty to them.

“We see Taliban and Haqqani network continuing to work together, and oftentimes, it is difficult for us to distinguish exactly, you know where the loyalties lie and what the relationships are between the Taliban and Haqqani, because, in many cases, they are so intertwined,” he added.

“But it goes back to the peace process. And whether it’s Haqqani or Taliban, the solution here is for those groups to join and seek a political settlement, here,” the General said. APP