All Afghan warring groups must join talks: Gilani
ISLAMABAD PAKISTANI Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said on Saturday he had appealed to all Afghan warring groups including the Haqqani militant network to join national reconciliation.
The Haqqani network is known to have carried out some of the deadly attacks in Afghanistan, including a September 13 siege of the US embassy in Kabul.
The group was founded by Jalaluddin Haqqani, a former mujaheddin fighter during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s.
He has now handed over leadership to his son, Sirajuddin Haqqani, who is wanted by the US.
Some US and Afghan officials have accused Pakistani intelligence of helping the Haqqani network Gilani on Friday called on the Afghan Taliban and other insurgent groups including the Hezb-i-Islami of hardline militant leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar to take part in a peace process to end 10 years of war in Afghanistan.
At a news conference at his official residence late on Saturday he said he made the appeal in “good faith” following his talks with Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Islamabad last week.
Asked if his appeal included Haqqani network, he said: “We have appealed to all Afghans, across the board, they should all join peace and reconciliation process.” “We want peace in Afghanistan and we want stability in the region.” He said Karzai wanted Pakistan to use its “good offices” in facilitating the process in Afghanistan, as US-led combat troops prepare to leave by 2014.
Taliban representatives have begun contacts with US officials in the Gulf state of Qatar designed to build confidence and pave the way for a prisoner exchange, but the militia has publicly refused to talk to Karzai’s government.
Pakistan says it will do anything required by Kabul to support an Afghan-led peace process, but there is a wide degree of scepticism in Afghanistan and the United States about the sincerity of the former Taliban ally.