Pakistan keeps away from Taliban’s Doha office row

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan distanced itself on Thursday from the controversy over the name of the Taliban’s office in Qatar that offended Kabul, saying it recognised the Karzai administration as the legitimate government of Afghanistan.

“As for your query regarding banner, Pakistan was not associated with the details of the office,” Foreign Office Spokesman Aizaz Chaudhry said at a briefing.

The Foreign Office had earlier said that Pakistan had facilitated the setting up of the office which would serve as the Taliban’s political point of contact.

The Taliban had named the political office in Doha as Political Bureau of ‘Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’.

The spokesman said Pakistan’s support for the Taliban office was “in keeping with Pakistan’s consistent call for a peaceful and negotiated solution to the Afghan conflict”.

Pakistan, he emphasised, recognised the government of Afghanistan led by President Hamid Karzai and had remained engaged with it.

He reiterated Pakistan’s official position that a successful reconciliation process required an all-inclusive intra-Afghan dialogue. He pointed out that Doha talks were one part of that reconciliation process and hoped that all other stakeholders in Afghanistan would join the peace process.

The spokesman parried a question as to which Pakistani institution had led the “facilitation role” in bringing the Taliban to the negotiating table.

“It is important to understand that leadership of Pakistan and all state institutions speak with one voice on foreign policy matters,” he said.


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