Pakistan, Afghanistan agree on no talks with Taliban
* Spanta calls for destruction of Taliban and Al Qaeda ‘sanctuaries’
* Qureshi says there are sanctuaries but only Pakistan will tackle them
By Sajjad Malik
ISLAMABAD: The Pakistani and Afghan foreign ministers told a press conference on Wednesday the two countries agree on not holding talks with armed Taliban.
“Talks will be held with only those who are willing to lay down arms and those who live within the constitution,” Afghan Foreign Minister Dr Rangin Dadfar Spanta said. Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said other nations were coming around to Pakistan’s multi-pronged counterterrorism strategy that said “no talks with militants but political dialogue with those who agree to live as peaceful citizens”.
Sanctuaries: The Afghan foreign minister also called for the destruction of Taliban and Al Qaeda ‘reproduction factories’ in the Tribal Areas of Pakistan, adding cross-border terrorism was a serious issue. “If there are sanctuaries, there are. Let us call a spade a spade. But they would be taken care of only by the Pakistani security forces,” Qureshi added. Qureshi said he had shared a document with his Afghan counterpart that ‘set the tone for a new relationship’ with new transportation and communication corridors, co-operation in energy and mineral development projects, and trans-border economic zones.
Spanta denied India was planning to send troops to Afghanistan or that there were 16 Indian consulates in Afghanistan, saying there were only four in Mazar-e-Shairf, Herat, Kandhar and Jalalabad.