Pakistan supports an Afghan-led and inclusive reconciliation process in Afghanistan to pave the way for durable peace and stability in the war-torn country, Pakistani Ambassador Abdullah Hussain Haroon has said.
“We have a stake in a peaceful and stable Afghanistan,” he said while participating in a discussion panel at the United Nations on the subject of “Afghanistan: Is a Negotiated Settlement Possible?”
The well-attended event was organized by the Century Foundation and Mid-Atlantic region of the United Nations Association of the United States. Other participants were Robert Finn, a former United States to Afghanistan and Zahir Tanin, Afghanistan’s UN Ambassador Jaffrey Laurentia, senior fellow in international affairs at The Century Foundation, was the moderator.
Elaborating his remarks on the Afghan reconciliation process, Ambassador Haroon said Pakistan had welcomed the establishment of “the High-level Peace Council” in Afghanistan and its head Burhanuddin Rabbani visited Islamabad last month.
“Pakistan wants durable peace and stability in Afghanistan, stability and development in Afghanistan is in our national interest”, he said, adding that the safe return of more than 1.5 million registered Afghan refugees living in Pakistan was only possible in a peaceful and stable Afghanistan.
The quest for peace and stability in Afghanistan was driving bilateral relations into long-term cooperative partnership, he said.
Close cooperative relationship exists between the leadership of the two countries at all levels.
Replying to a question, Ambassador Haroon said Pakistan was doing everything possible to get rid of the militants who have taken refuge on its soil, but US-led coalition forces must do their part.
There were thousands of troops in Afghanistan and they must stop militants from fleeing into the Pakistani territory. Pakistan has more than 800 mile long border with Afghanistan and it was difficult to seal it. After all, he pointed out, the United States, with all its resources and infrastructure, had not able to establish much control over its border with Mexico.
Earlier, the Afghan Ambassador also spoke of Afghanistan’s excellent relations with Pakistan’s civilian government, led by President Asif Ali Zardari.
Ambassador Tanin said his government stood for national reconciliation provided the opposition groups renounce violence and agree to respect the country’s constitution. “we want to end the war in Afghanistan,” he told the gathering.