No reason to target militants not posing threat to Pakistan: Sartaj Aziz

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Islamabad, Nov 18 (PTI) Pakistan has said it sees no reason to target militants who do not pose any threat to it, in an apparent reference to Afghan-based dreaded Haqqani network which is blamed for a series of deadly attacks against NATO forces and Indian missions in Afghanistan.

"Why should America's enemies unnecessarily become our enemies," said Sartaj Aziz, Pakistani prime minister's advisor on national security and foreign affairs.

File photo of Sartaj Aziz

"When the United States attacked Afghanistan, all those that were trained and armed by us together were pushed towards Pakistan. Some of them were dangerous for us and some were not. Why must we make enemies out of them all?," he said, while referring to Afghan-based militant groups including the Haqqani Network.

He told BBC Urdu that the issue of Afghan Taliban and Haqqani Network was for Afghan government to settle and they should decide how to deal with them. The advisor said that Pakistan can urge them for talks but it cannot force anyone for negotiations.

"It's the job of the Afghan government to negotiate with them...We can try to convince them, however things are not the same as they were in the nineties," Aziz said.

Haqqani network is responsible for many high-profile attacks in Afghanistan, including the 19-hour attack on the US Embassy in Kabul and the nearby ISAF headquarters in September 2011.

The Indian Embassy in Kabul was attacked twice in 2008 and 2009 that left 75 people dead. The attack was also blamed on Haqqani Network. Aziz said the military operation against militants in North Waziristan was against all and Pakistan forces were attacking everyone irrespective of any consideration.

He said if someone escaped before the operation, then he is out of reach of Pakistan but those staying back were being targeted. He said relations with Kabul were improving and both countries agreed during visit of President Ashraf Ghani to not allow militants to operate from their soils.

On COAS Raheel Sharif's visit to the United States, the adviser to the PM said that relations between Pakistan and the US are improving.

PTI

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