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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has conveyed to the Taliban interim government authorities that it is in no mood to hold any talks with the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) until the group surrender unconditionally by recognising the country’s constitution and face the law for their crimes against the people of Pakistan.

A senior government official, privy to the recent high-level contacts between the relevant Pakistani authorities and the Taliban high leadership, told Business Recorder that no talks will be held with the TTP and that the previous experience of initiating the dialogue with the group during the PTI government was “just a waste of time and flawed policy.”

Following the 2014 Zarb-e-Azb operation which pushed the militant group to take refuge in Afghanistan, the TTP has been a major issue for Pakistan with Islamabad constantly asking authorities in Kabul to take action against the group.

Instead, the Taliban authorities want Pakistan to negotiate with the TTP and resolve the issue peacefully to avert the group members joining other groups such as Islamic State-Khorasan Province (IS-KP) in case of any action against them.

“We know TTP is ideological ‘cousins’ of the TTA [Tehreek-e-Taliban Afghanistan] and both owe their allegiance to the same Amir [chief]– Hibatullah Akhundzada – and we understand their [TTA] position. But, aren’t they [the TTP] liable to face the action if they break the allegiance to their Amir?” the official asked.

He stated this in reference to the recent “internal” order passed by the Taliban’s Amir Hibatullah Akhundzada, who has forbidden attacks against Pakistan as “Haram”. The official further stated that Pakistan has also requested the Taliban authorities to make the “internal” order of its Amir public.

As for as talks with the TTP is concerned, the official continued by saying that “are they ready to recognize the Constitution of Pakistan, surrender their arms and face the country’s law for their crimes against the people of Pakistan and the security forces?”

“We have conveyed our red lines in categorical terms,” the official said, adding that the state of Pakistan is going to hold no talks with any individual or entity that does not recognise the Constitution of Pakistan, involve in armed campaign against the country and killings of its people.

The official pointed out that there are over a dozen terrorist organisations still operating from within Afghanistan and the Taliban’s interim government needs to neutralise all of them if they need international recognition, which is very important for Afghanistan itself.

On the question of recognition of the Taliban’s interim government, the official was of the opinion that if the Taliban’s government is given representation in the United Nations, it will be the only way to get them pressurise for honouring their international commitments.

He said that Taliban are also of the view that they would only negotiate with the international community on many issues including the right to the women education and work, once they are given international recognition.

At the UN currently, Afghanistan is still being represented by officials appointed by the previous Ashraf Ghani’s regime whose words have no credence at the world forum with regard to the affairs of the Taliban interim government.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023


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