US-Taliban peace deal
Qureshi remains wary of ‘spoilers’
Statesman Report
ISLAMABAD: Addressing a press conference, a day after attending the signing ceremony of a peace agreement between US and Taliban in Doha, Qureshi said that we cannot ignore the role of spoilers. “I spoke to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo after the signing of the deal and raised four points of concern. One of the concerns was the role of spoilers which have always been present, inside and outside Afghanistan,” he said.
“We have to keep eyes on them,” Qureshi said, adding, that a mechanism must be put in place to identify those playing a negative role.
“The ultimate decision will be in the hands of the Afghanistan government and a foreign actor cannot make that decision for them,” Qureshi said.
The foreign minister continued, “Yesterday’s ceremony generated a momentum which needs to be maintained. When people see the progress the momentum will continue.”
Qureshi added that he also suggested to Pompeo that there should not be much delay before the intra-Afghan dialogue takes place so that the momentum continues. “Norway has offered to host intra-Afghan dialogue but we should make sure there isn’t much delay between it. Optics are very important. Yesterday, the optics were beamed everywhere.”
He added that Pakistan’s role was hailed at the ceremony yesterday. “Pakistan played an important role in this,” he said.
“When prisoners are released or troops are withdrawn, the optics were there,” he said. “There were month-long talks behind yesterday’s ceremony.”
On the subject of the release of the prisoners, Qureshi said there needs to be progress on the issue. “Some prisoners are with the Afghan government and some with the Taliban. We are hopeful that President Ashraf Ghani will play his role in keeping the environment healthy and understand the importance of the agreement.”