Pakistan warned Thursday that an escalation in hostilities could derail U.S.-led peace efforts in Afghanistan, although it apparently refrained from condemning Taliban insurgents for unleashing their annual spring offensive in the neighboring country.
The Taliban announced the new offensive last Friday amid expectations their ongoing direct peace talks with U.S. interlocutors would discourage the insurgent group from going ahead with this year's spring operations, which mark an intensification in the Afghan war, now in its 18th year.
U.S. chief negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad swiftly condemned the insurgent move, saying it would not advance Afghan peace efforts. He also called on Pakistan, Qatar and other nations to do the same. The two countries, along with Russia, China and Iran, are known for maintaining ties with the Taliban.
Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Faisal, when asked Thursday to respond to Khalilzad’s remarks, noted that chances of peace in Afghanistan “have become brighter” in the wake of direct U.S.-Taliban talks. But he avoided denouncing the insurgent offensive.
“Pakistan believes that all sides must give peace a chance and continue the dialogue, which is the only way to bring peace and stability in Afghanistan. There is a danger that any increase in hostility has the capacity to derail the peace process,” Faisal told a weekly news conference in Islamabad.
Source : VOA