Pak holds 'trump card' to success of Afghan peace talks with Taliban: Gilani

Islamabad, Oct 13 (ANI): The renewed Afghan efforts to make peace with the Taliban to end the nine-year war would fail without Pakistan's help, Pakistan Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani has stated.

Earlier this week in a TV interview, Afghan President Hamid Karzai had disclosed that he had renewed overtures to the Taliban, and had been holding talks with the insurgents "for quite some time," the Daily Times reported.

However, talking to reporters in Charsadda, Gilani stressed that Pakistan had an essential role to play in the Afghan reconciliation process if there was to be any prospect of peace.

"Nothing will happen without us, because we are a part of the solution, we are not a part of the problem," he stated.

On Sunday, former Afghan president Burhanuddin Rabbani was elected as the chairman of a new peace council set up to broker peace with the Taliban and bring an end to the war.acked by Karzai, the High Peace Council intends to open a dialogue with insurgents who have been trying to bring down his government since the US-led invasion overthrew the Taliban regime in late 2001.

But Gilani refused to be drawn on whether Pakistan backed the plan or not.

Meanwhile, The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has endorsed the Afghan government's attempt to strike a peace accord with the Taliban rebels to end a war, which is now in its tenth year.

Richard Holbrooke, US Special Representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan, also said that the United States welcomed Afghan reconciliation efforts but believed that the recent reports about secret talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government were exaggerated.

"The facts are, as President Karzai stated in a CNN interview to be broadcast tonight, what he said was quite clear there: that they've been in contact with people with the Taliban on a continuing basis," he stated.

"We're not involved in those talks but we support them provided they follow the 'red lines' that are absolutely critical because we have a strategic interest here," he added, revealing the US' stand on the ongoing negotiations. (ANI)

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