Feb. 22 - Pakistan will lend strong support to Afghanistan, but will not take the lead in any peace drive, says Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
Pakistan says will give its full support to the Afghan government's efforts to reach a political settlement with the Taliban. But at a news conference in London, Foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar, underscored that Islamabad does not want to lead the peace process. (SOUNDBITE) (English) PAKISTANI FOREIGN MINISTER HINA RABBANI KHAR, SAYING: "We will support any, and I say any and I mean any, and all initiatives that are all inclusive that are Afghan-led, that are Afghan-owned and Afghan-driven. This is our first and last prerequisite. It's the only precondition that Pakistan has." She said Afghans were tired of attempts by other countries to take charge of their affairs. (SOUNDBITE) (English) PAKISTANI FOREIGN MINISTER HINA RABBANI KHAR, SAYING: "But we will not lead. We cannot lead, we cannot even pretend to lead. We can only follow what our Afghan brothers and sisters decide is to be the course of action that they will adopt." Pakistan has consistently said it wanted peace in Afghanistan, but Afghans have long been suspicious of Pakistani intentions because of historical ties between Pakistani intelligence and insurgent groups such as the Afghan Taliban. Last month, the Afghan Taliban announced it would open a political office in Qatar, suggesting it may be willing to use that as a tool in future negotiations. Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters.