afghanistan: Afghan foreign minister rules out presence of anti-Pakistan elements on its soil – Times of India

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ISLAMABAD: Afghanistan’s interim foreign minister, Amir Khan Muttaqi, has ruled out the presence of anti-Pakistan elements in his country, saying that the reasons for the conflict that did exist had been eliminated.
Muttaqi has been on a three-day visit to Pakistan. He was specially invited by Pakistan to attend the meeting of the Troika Plus, a group comprising Pakistan, China, Russia and the US, on Afghanistan. At a meeting on Thursday, the US, Chinese and Russian representatives gave a clear message to the Taliban government to uphold its international legal obligations, including universally accepted principles of international law and fundamental human rights.
Speaking at a separate event in Islamabad on Friday, the Afghan envoy said the Taliban have cleared all areas of anti-state elements that posed threats to others.
“We are trying our best and exerting efforts in terms of not allowing the territory of Afghanistan to be used against anyone. The people of this region have suffered a lot and we must no longer let this suffering continue,” the minister said.
On Pakistan’s talks with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Muttaki said that there have been some improvements. “We are hopeful of a positive outcome from the talks. The ceasefire has taken place between the TTP and the Pakistani government and we are hopeful that this process will be extended,” he said.
The Taliban takeover of Afghanistan has provided an opportunity for Pakistan to use its leverage on authorities in the war-ravaged country. One of the biggest challenges that Pakistan has been facing from across its western border was the presence of the Pakistani Taliban there. The TTP is a terrorist organisation formed by its first chief, Baitullah Mehsud, in 2007 after the merger of dozens of armed groups. The group’s aim is to replace Pakistan’s government with an Islamic system that was in place in Afghanistan from 1996 till 2001. It can be described as a Pakistani affiliate of the Afghan Taliban.
The Pakistani Taliban had always fought on the side of their Afghan counterparts against Western forces and those of the former Afghanistan government.
When the Afghan Taliban were driven out of Afghanistan in 2001, their Pakistani comrades had provided them shelter in the tribal areas, including in their own homes. The Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network had started their spring offensives from their safe havens in Pakistan. Before the onset of spring, the Taliban used to cross into Afghanistan to carry out attacks on US-led Western and Afghan forces. After achieving their objectives, they would return to their bases in North Waziristan and other tribal areas along the Pakistan-Afghan border.
The first suicide bomber of the Haqqani Network to carry out an attack in Afghanistan was trained by Baitullah Mehsud, the TTP’s first chief. After the fall of Kabul on August 15, Anas Haqqani, son of Jalaluddin Haqqani, founder of the Haqqani Network, had visited the suicide bomber’s grave to pay tribute. The Afghan Taliban are believed to have not forgotten that support.
Following the Taliban’s return to power, Islamabad’s first and foremost demand of them was to use their influence to stop the TTP from using their country for terrorist attacks against Pakistan. Pakistan had turned to Sirajuddin Haqqani, the interior minister in Afghanistan’s Taliban government and chief of the Haqqani Network, for help in starting talks with the Pakistani Taliban, a source familiar with Islamabad’s ongoing talks with the TTP said.
The Haqqanis and the Afghan Taliban had subsequently facilitated the talks that culminated in a month-long ceasefire from November 9.

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