The two-day Afghanistan-Pakistan Plan of Action for Peace and Solidarity (APAPPS), held at the Foreign Office, ended on Saturday at a dead end in which there were strong differences and in rare cases not even the compulsory press release was issued.
I would not say it was deadlocked, but the talks faltered, and both sides have stated in their statements and tweets that there is still room for future engagement in issues where there was no meeting Some hopes are still there for future talks, though no dates have been agreed, a senior official told The News.
The Ashraf Ghani government, following its return to Kabul, announced in a formal statement by the German Foreign Office: While some progress has been made in the cooperation mechanisms, no progress has been made on specific, results-based and time-bound actions in the APAPPS, notably the Counter Terrorism, Reducing Violence, Peace and Reconciliation to Meet Afghanistan’s Priorities .
Earlier in the afternoon, Foreign Ministry spokesman informed informally on social media: Pak-Afghanistan talks, two days of good talks, some agreements, more work needed. With the entire press corps hanging from his neck, the speaker remained steadfast, refusing to address the question of what the “agreements” were and what issues were needed for “further work.”
“I was instructed by Foreign Minister Tehmina Janjua to tweet these four sentences and I did, I’m unable to answer any questions or discuss topics that have been tweeted,” he told the news.
The Afghan delegation headed by Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Khalil Karzai set off for Kabul in the evening.
The second round of APAPPS talks started on Friday morning, but officially no comment was made on the meeting. On Saturday, the second day of the trial took place, which included a working lunch in the Foreign Office with Foreign Minister Tehmina Janjua, who headed the Pakistani delegation of senior civilian and military representatives.
When reading the fine print of the Kabul Declaration, it is clear that the main difference that was not reached was allegations that Pakistan continues to provide shelter to the Afghan Taliban, which is where militant terrorists operate in Afghanistan. This is similar to the demands made by the Trump government when Pakistan denied that there were Afghan Taliban or members of the Haqqani network on its soil.
Another difference between the two sides is Pakistan’s fencing of the Pak-Afghan border to stop illegal crossing, a move Kabul rejected. Pakistan insists that it will continue to work on effective border management and has so far built border fences over more than 160 kilometers of land.
“Since it is a long-term boundary, coexistence is crucial to building fences and establishing checkpoints on both sides of the territory to which Pakistan is deeply involved,” the FO spokesman had previously noted.
The Afghan Foreign Ministry’s remarks also indicate that Pakistan is not doing enough to bring the Afghan Taliban to the negotiating table. The Afghan side wanted more progress in launching an all-Afghan dialogue with Pakistan, forcing the Afghan Taliban to come to the negotiating table. Islamabad has repeatedly said that they can call on the Afghan Taliban for talks, but can not force them.
In any case, the Afghan Taliban, with an upper hand on the battlefield, where more territory falls to them day by day, have very strong conditions before they go to the negotiating table.
However, Pakistan supports an all-Afghan dialogue in which commitment and dialogue are crucial for the way forward as the political process is the most viable solution. “We welcomed the peace agreement between the Afghan government and Hezb-e-Islami and we believe it can serve as a model to negotiate similar deals with other insurgent groups, including the Taliban, and the Afghan government should come up with a plan to do so for reconciliation, “said the spokesman on Friday in a press conference.
He added that the peace treaty between Kabul and Hizb-e-Islami has shown that if the parties are sincere and the political will exists, the desired results can be achieved and maintained.
The talks also focused on the return of Afghan refugees to their homeland. Pakistan wants refugees to return as soon as possible, especially as these refugee villages provide safe havens for the Afghan Taliban to hide as soon as they cross the border. Pakistan has repeatedly stressed that Afghan refugees must be encouraged to return to their homelands by providing the Afghan government with the necessary “pull factors” that provide housing, employment, well-being and other basic amenities that will encourage them to become more sustainable Living in Afghanistan. Afghanistan, which relies on security and economic issues, is reluctant to take them back.
The issue of the safe and premature repatriation of Afghan refugees to Afghanistan in dignity remains a fundamental concern of Pakistan. We have repeatedly raised this issue with the Afghan government and the international community, Foreign Ministry spokesman said Friday.
The APAPPS was set up as a joint action plan for cooperation in the areas of counter-terrorism and reduction of violence, peace and reconciliation, repatriation of refugees and common economic development.
On Saturday, there were also reports of Afghan Taliban kidnapping 17 Pakistani hostages from Landikotal five months ago. “I am not aware of this development,” said the spokesman for the Foreign Office the news.