Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai met Pakistan’s leaders in Islamabad on Wednesday for talks on stepping up the fight against militants waging an insurgency against his government.
Addressing a joint news conference held with Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, Karzai said the two leaders had discussed new ways of tackling the terror networks that straddle their two countries’ common border.
“We discussed how to find ways of tackling sanctuaries, training grounds, ideologies and financial resources of terrorists,” Karzai said, speaking at the end of his second visit to Pakistan’s capital in six months.
“We have to be frank and open to find a way out together,” Karzai said, stressing that “the reality is that both the countries are suffering at the hands of terrorists.
Asked if his offer to talk to the Taliban was still on the table, Karzai said: “We are continuing in our campaign against terrorist networks and Al-Qaeda but we will also seek means other than military campaigns to bring stability to Afghanistan and to Pakistan by extension.”We will engage with the Taliban who are not part of Al-Qaeda or any other terrorist network. Who abide by the Afghan constitution and the gains achieved by our nation and who have no ideological enmity with us.”
Zardari said, “Pakistan is the part of the solution and not the problem.” “Both Pakistan and Afghanistan happen to be suffering from the cancer called terrorism. I reiterate that Pakistan stands against terrorism.”
Karzai’s government is pursuing peace talks with different factions within Afghanistan, including some Taliban leaders believed to be living in the remote tribal border areas between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Pakistan has repeatedly said it could play a role in promoting reconciliation in Afghanistan and has expressed willingness to assist Afghan-led peace efforts.