US backs Afghan-led process with Taliban, stresses Pakistan-India peace for regional stability

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US backs Afghan-led process with Taliban, stresses Pakistan-India peace for regional stability

WASHINGTON, Oct 19 (APP): The United States said on Tuesday it supported an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process with Taliban for a negotiated solution to the conflict there, and observed that dialogue between Pakistan and India would help reduce tension in the region.

At a briefing at the US State Department, spokesman Mark Toner said regional dynamics played into any country’s domestic situation. That was why the United States had been “pushing for more dialogue between Pakistan and India, which we believe will help reduce tensions in the region,” he added.

He was responding to a question if the Afghan situation was
determined by US interest in the region as well as relations between Pakistan and India.

Toner stated that in a situation like in Afghanistan, certainly there was a range of different  regional dynamics that play into it.

“It’s just a matter of fact,” he said, adding the US goal was to continue to support the Afghan military as it stepped up its fight against the Taliban and to support the Afghan Government as it pushed much needed economic and political reforms.

About the reports of resumption of secret peace talks between Taliban and the Afghan government, the spokesman said he would not be going to speak about what role the United States may or may not be playing with regard to the new reported initiative. But, the United States believed that a peace accord was really the primary or the only pathway to ensuring peace and stability long term in Afghanistan, he said.

“So we have supported and continue to support an Afghan-led, an Afghan-owned process for negotiated resolution to the conflict there. And we’re committed to promoting that as much as we can,” he added.

The fate of the reported talks though remained uncertain after a Taliban spokesman reportedly denied resumption of talks that were broken down after the death of Mullah Mohammad Omar was reported by the media, which caused a rift among the Taliban ranks.

When again asked as to what would be the US role in the talks, spokesman Toner said that given the sensitivity of the issue, he was not going to speak about where the United States might be in the process. “I just can’t offer any more details,” he added.

He, however, said that the United States was supportive of a process which fundamentally needed to be Afghan-led and Afghan-owned. “So we’re not looking to a engineer this, we’re not looking to supervise this in  any way, shape, or form. This is something the Afghan government and the Taliban would have to take on their own.”