Pakistan must be part of solution in Afghanistan: envoy

14th January 2011, Comments 0 comments

A senior Pakistani diplomat said on Friday that Pakistan must be part of attempts to forge a political solution in Afghanistan rather than simply be urged to kill extremists on its territory.

His comments came about a month after US President Barack Obama said that Pakistan must step up its attempts to root out "terrorist safe havens" within its borders.

Obama will on Friday meet Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari at the White House for talks.

Pakistan's ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, Zamir Akram, rejected the reliance on military options.

"What you are asking us to do is to pull your chestnuts out of the fire and be the bad guys. So we kill them while you talk to them," he told journalists.

Some western officials and military leaders have suggested a deal with moderate Taliban in Afghanistan while the military offensive there continues.

Akram underlined that the Taliban were part of native Pashtun tribes in the region and simply killing leaders in Pakistan's remote western frontier areas was not viable "because we have to live with these people in the future."

"It is absolutely essential for us that we be part of this approach that is where you bring a political solution to Afghanistan and not be part of only a military approach," he added. "That's where the crux is."

Pakistan said earlier this month that it had agreed with a visiting delegation of Afghan officials charged with trying to broker peace with the Taliban to hold a peace "jirga" between the two countries.

The visit was regarded as the beginning of a new phase in Kabul's attempts to woo Taliban rebels to negotiate peace after nine years of war in Afghanistan.

Obama has also "welcomed" Pakistan's efforts against Islamic extremists, including offensives in its lawless tribal regions, and confirmed that he would visit the south Asian country next year.

© 2011 AFP

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