Islamabad - Afghan Ambassador to Pakistan Dr Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal said yesterday that despite efforts by both Islamabad and Kabul misunderstandings could not be removed between two countries, however, the endeavours in this regard must continue.

Talking in a Waqt News programme, Afghan envoy said his country did not know why a Taliban delegation visited Karachi recently. He said his government was not informed that with whom the Taliban delegation had the meeting. According to him, this gave birth to misunderstandings.

To a question, he said Pakistan must not see relations with Afghanistan with reference to its ties with India. Zakhilwal said Kabul had independent relations with New Delhi whereas ties with Islamabad were of different nature. The envoy maintained that Afghanistan shared common borders with Pakistan and both the neighbours very much close to each other as far as their geographical, cultural and religious ideas were concerned.

The Afghan ambassador denied that India had 16 consulate offices in Afghanistan. Zakhilwal said in the past 50 years, India had only four consulate offices in Afghanistan. He, however, admitted that Afghan soil must not be used against Pakistan.

He said despite meetings between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and President Ashraf Ghani and military chiefs of both countries, the misunderstandings and mistrust could not be removed. He said the people involved in Peshawar school attack were handed over by the Afghan government to Pakistan.

He added that Pakistan had conducted operations in North and South Waziristan agencies but concrete measures had not been taken to eliminate Haqqani group. The envoy said that Taliban did not keep their promises they had undertaken during talks with Afghan government. He was upbeat that next round of talks would be positive and result-oriented.

QCG TO DISCUSS PROSPECTS FOR AFGHAN PEACE ON 18TH

NNI adds: Senior diplomats from Afghanistan, China, Pakistan and the United States are scheduled to meet in Islamabad on May 18 to discuss ways how to start the peace talks in Afghanistan, officials said yesterday.

This would be the first meeting of the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) since the Taliban have refused to take part in the direct talks with the Afghan government. The QCG in its last meeting in Kabul in February had invited the insurgents to join the process by the first week of March.

The meeting is seen very important as Afghanistan is now pushing for action against the Taliban as they are unwilling to come to the negotiation table and launched their annual “Spring Offensive.”

The Taliban’s huge suicide bombing in Kabul on April 19 that killed 64 people and injured nearly 350 has badly affected efforts for the peace negotiations. President Ashraf Ghani in his parliament speech on April 25th had prioritised war with the Taliban.

The Afghan government now wants the QCG to opt for action against the Taliban; however, Pakistan still insists on the political negotiations.

“Pakistan has been pressing upon the US and Afghan side that the reconciliation process needs to be given a fair chance and more time,” Foreign Affairs Adviser Sartaj Aziz recently told the Senate.

“Irreconcilable elements can be targeted after concerted efforts of negotiations have failed. We hope to discuss these issues in detail during the upcoming round of the QCG in Islamabad on 18-19 May,” Mr Aziz further said.

Afghan ambassador in Islamabad, Dr Omar Zakhilwal, said on Sunday Kabul now pushes the QCG to pronounce the Taliban as "irreconcilable” because they have publicly rejected the talks.

Zakhilwal told the media that the QCG in its meeting in Kabul had agreed on a roadmap in February and that Kabul hopes the grouping will implement its decisions.