Afghan govt summons Pak diplomat on Imran Khan’s remarks

PESHAWAR: In a sign of frustration over continuous side-lining of the Afghan government by the Taliban in the ongoing peace talks, the Afghan government on Saturday summoned a senior Pakistani diplomat to explain remarks by Prime Minister Imran Khan about possibility of formation of a new government in the war-torn country.

Imran Khan while addressing a massive public gathering during his visit to Bajaur tribal district on Friday said peace in Afghanistan was within the reach as peace talks between the United States and the Taliban to end the country’s 17-year-old war are moving in right direction. He said a new all-inclusive government may be formed in Kabul following a possible peace settlement.

“A good government will come in Afghanistan. I mean a government will come in which all will be represented. War will end and there will be peace,” Imran Khan had said in his Bajaur rally.

The Afghan Foreign Affairs Ministry summoned Pakistan’s counsellor to clarify the remarks, spokesperson Sibghatullah Ahmadi said in a message on Twitter.

“Afghanistan expressed its grave objection on Pakistan’s government and deemed such remarks a flagrant interference in its internal affairs,” he said.

Last month, Pakistan ambassador Zahid Nasrullah Khan was also summoned by Afghan foreign ministry over his remarks that Afghan peace talks could be affected if India resorted to violence against Pakistan.

The Afghan government has recently voiced frustration about continuous refusal by the Taliban to talk to it in the peace talks. The Taliban are directly talking to the US and they have rejected requests by the US, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and other countries to also include the Afghan government in the talks. The Taliban say there is no use talking to a puppet and powerless government.

The latest round of talks ended on Tuesday with both sides (US and Taliban) signalling positive outcome.

US special envoy for Afghan peace Zalmay Khalilzad said after the talks that both sides will discuss the development on their own sides and will meet again for the next round. However, he made it clear that nothing is final until a final agreement is reached and signed between the two sides.

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