Afghan Taliban unwilling to talk to government: Pakistan

Islamabad, Aug 28 (IANS) Pakistan said Tuesday that Afghan Taliban insurgents are unwilling to talk to Karzai government and its peace negotiators at least for now.

The statement came hours after Afghan President Hamid Karzai concluded a two-day visit to Pakistan that was focused on efforts to encourage Taliban to come to the negotiating table, Xinhua reported.

Karzai's spokesperson Aimal Faizi said that Karzai pressed for Islamabad's help to bring Taliban leaders to the negotiating table.

Afghan government claims that leaders of Taliban are living in Pakistan and that Islamabad should use influence on them and facilitate direct talks between Taliban and Afghan High Peace Council.

Pakistan's Advisor to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, however, said the Taliban are not willing to talk to Afghan government or Afghan High Peace Council.

"Pakistan will try its best to persuade them to hold dialogue so as to avert outbreak of civil war in post-conflict Afghanistan," Aziz told state radio.

Taliban regime was outsted by a US-led invasion in late 2001 for harbouring Al-Qaeda and the US and Nato-led combat troops are due to complete withdrawal from Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

Aziz said that Karzai's visit helped forge understanding and remove misgivings between the two countries.

"The two sides acknowledged that their peace and stability was interlinked," he said.

Karzai extended his daylong visit to Pakistan by one day Tuesday and held another round of talks with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on peace process in war-torn Afghanistan.

Sharif reaffirmed Pakistan's strong and sincere support for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan, saying the region has witnessed conflict and instability for decades and it's high time to realise common agenda of peace and development in the two neighbouring countries.