The comments came days after the four-nation meeting in Islamabad decided to set date for the Afghan peace talks by the end of February. Xinhua reported.
The Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) of Afghanistan, China, Pakistan and the United States will meet in Kabul on Feb. 23 to review progress in contacts with the Taliban groups to encourage them to join the peace talks. Officials say all member countries will use their “channels” to approach the Taliban Qatar office and other groups to invite them to the talks.
“We must, sequence the process and take a step-by-step approach rather than coming up with preconditions by either side in an extremely complex and difficult process,” said Pakistan Foreign Secretary, Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, who represents the country in the QCG.
Speaking at a meeting of the Afghan members of the civil society, currently visiting Pakistan as part of the Beyond Boundaries – Pak-Afghan Track II/1.5 initiative in Islamabad, he hoped that concerted efforts by the QCG would result in direct intra-Afghan talks sooner than later. The dialogue has been undertaken by an Islamabad-based Center for Research and Security Studies (CRSS).
Chaudhry underscored that the positive message by all stakeholders was essential to help improve perceptions, adding the speed with which the QCG has moved reflects the commitment of all stakeholders to the Afghan peace and reconciliation, a CRSS statement said.
“This will also help the respective governments to move in tandem in the reconciliation process and neutralize the impact of spoilers,” he said, expressing the hope that the Afghan civil society and the media would play their role in making the peace efforts successful.
Pointing to the aggravated security situation, factional divisions and emergence of Islamic State, Chaudhry said these factors posed a big challenge to the QCG process but hoped that given the resolve of all four countries, they were not insurmountable.
About relations with Afghanistan, the chief diplomat said that Pakistan believed in a sovereign, united, prosperous, peaceful Afghanistan. “This is in the interest of the entire region and that is why Pakistan together with the U.S. and China is doing its best to help Afghans achieve the goal of peace and stability.”
“Hope and faith in the process as well as in Pakistan’s sincerity in the peace efforts will work better than continuous blame-game and skepticism,” Chaudhry added while underlining that confidence could only aspired by staying positive.
“Pakistan has developed a complete national consensus to counter-terrorism. Pakistan is determined to deal with all those militants across the board who are killing innocent women and children both in Pakistan and Afghanistan,” the foreign secretary said.