Tue, Jul

State Dept endorses Afghan peace process


state-departmentContrary to the public perception, the United States on Tuesday endorsed peace talks between the Karzai government and the Taliban, saying it had always supported Afghans talking to Afghans to bring peace and stability to their country.

“We have long strongly supported an Afghan-led reconciliation, which would of course be Afghans talking to Afghans. So the notion that we wouldn't support that dialogue is inaccurate,” State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki told her daily news conference.

Asked about The New York Times story on clandestine talks, she said Presidents Obama and Karzai had reaffirmed a year ago that Afghan-led reconciliation was the surest way to end violence and ensure lasting stability. America's focus continued to be promoting and supporting an inclusive Afghan-led process, she added.

At the same time, the US refrained from endorsing the latest round of peace talks between the government of Pakistan and Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). “We of course are closely following the recent developments. The issue of whether to negotiate with TTP is an internal matter for Pakistan,” she said.

The United States and Pakistan continued to have a vital shared strategic interest in ending extremist violence so as to build a more prosperous, stable and peaceful region, the spokeswoman continued.
America's view on Pakistan-Taliban talks is quite different from that on the Afghan dialogue, as it has been supporting the latter publicly, but has refused to issue similar statements on the peace moves by the Nawaz Sharif government.

“Every circumstance is different. I'm not piling every country and every circumstance into one. So I think I gave an answer on our position,” Psaki said.