Political settlement only solution to Afghan conflict: Sartaj Aziz

Islamabad: Pakistan today said the conflict in Afghanistan can only be resolved through Afghan-led political settlement and not by military means. Pakistan Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said terrorism was the common enemy both countries were facing.

He called for close cooperation and meaningful engagement between the two governments in the areas of security, counter-terrorism and border management for preventing cross-border movement of terrorist groups, a Foreign Office statement said.

“Reiterating Pakistan’s desire for lasting peace in Afghanistan, Adviser Sartaj Aziz said that there was no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan and the focus should be on political settlement through an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace process,” it said.

Highlighting serious efforts made by Pakistan for peace talks between Afghan government and Taliban, Aziz said cooperation between the two countries was important for promoting peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan.

He said the relations between the “two brotherly countries” were rooted in common history, religion, culture and people to people ties.

He said just like past, Afghanistan and Pakistan also shared their destiny. “It was, therefore, important that the two countries closely work together for dealing with the common challenges and pursue the welfare and progress of the people,” he said while interacting with a 14-member delegation of the Afghan media personnel.

The delegation is on a week-long visit to Pakistan starting yesterday for interaction with government, parliamentary and civil society institutions. Meanwhile, Afghan Ambassador Hazrat Omer Zakhilwal called on Special Assistant to the Prime Minister for Foreign Affairs (SAPM) Syed Tariq Fatemi, according to the office.

Fatemi stressed the importance of a peaceful, politically negotiated settlement as the best solution to the Afghan conflict. He also highlighted the serious efforts undertaken by Pakistan for facilitating an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace process.

Fatemi also emphasised that terrorism was a common threat that required cooperation between the two countries for the elimination of the menace.

Recalling the recent terrorist attacks in Pakistan carried by Jamatul Ahrar (JuA) and Tehrek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) from the Afghan soil, he underlined the need for effective border management for preventing cross-border movement of terrorists.