Qureshi: There is no third party mediation between Af-Pak

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has emphasized bilateralism to address any reservation that Kabul has with Islamabad, instead of involving the United States, after the peace agreement concluded between U.S and Taliban in Doha on February 29.

Cuando U.S y los talibanes firmaron el acuerdo, el secretario de defensa de Estados Unidos, Mark Esper, el secretario general de la OTAN, Jens Stoltenberg, y el presidente de Afganistán, Ashraf Ghani , inked a joint declaration in Kabul on withdrawal of US and NATO troops from Afghanistan, commitment on intra-Afghan talks, and security guarantees for Afghanistan as the peace process unfolds.

One of the clauses of the Kabul declaration says that the US was committed to facilitate discussions between Afghanistan and Pakistan to work out arrangements to ensure that neither country’s security was threatened by actions from the territory of the other side.

To this, Shah Mahmood Qureshi , Pakistan ’s foreign minister, responded saying there was no need to involve the US while addressing issues between Islamabad and Kabul .

“They should talk directly to Pakistan . The US is planning to withdraw and we will always remain neighbors,” Qureshi said in an interview to a news agency. “If I have an issue with Afghanistan, I will not ask to play a role,” Qureshi said.

Historically, Islamabad’s relations with Kabul has been tense and full of mistrust, barring the brief interlude of the Taliban rule over Afghanistan, and the relations touched a new low after the US toppled the Taliban regime in Kabul in 2001.

The Taliban, subsequently, found sanctuaries in Pakistan ’s tribal districts along the border with Afghanistan.

Since 2001, Kabul and Washington have publicly accused Islamabad of harboring Taliban leadership and providing them a haven for attacks against the US, Afghan, and the multi-national forces in Afghanistan.

Islamabad has denied these accusations and, instead, charged Afghanistan with providing anti- Pakistan militants refuge to plot attacks in Pakistan , a claim denied by Kabul .

“You know a trust deficit has existed and Pakistan has done its best to bridge that trust deficit,” Qureshi said. Instead of turning to US, there are institutionalized mechanisms through which Afghanistan can raise any issue under the sun with Pakistan , Qureshi said.

Taking credit for the US-Taliban agreement, Qureshi said it would never have happened if Pakistan had not convinced all the stakeholders that there was no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan.