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Af-Pak tensions gave China opportunity to dominate

News Agencies | Updated on: 13 June 2017, 17:41 IST

Increasing tensions between Afghanistan and Pakistan has given China an opportunity to acquire leadership role by mediating between the two Islamic countries and also to keep India away.

China has offered to mediate between Pakistan and Afghanistan so as to improve strained relations between the two countries that have dipped to an all time low after a deadly blast in Kabul on May 31 that killed over 150 people.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi is scheduled to visit Kabul soon, where he will meet Afghan officials to discuss ways to improve Afghanistan-Pakistan relations, President Ashraf Ghani's Office said in a statement on Monday.

Wang will work to discuss the possibility of organizing a meeting between Afghanistan, Pakistan, U.S and China, according to the statement, Tolo News reported.

"It is the first time that China wants to be a mediator in Afghanistan's peace process. Peace with Pakistan was our demand and this must be solved between government-and-government," Ghani said at the meeting.

After the investigations into the May 31 Kabul's Zanbaq Square blast, the Afghan Ministry of Interior has accused Pakistan's spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) of supplying explosives to the Haqqani network.

May 31 Kabul truck bombing was the worst attack in 2017, making it one of the deadliest attacks in the Afghan capital since the ouster of the Taliban in 2001.

Talking about its ongoing investigations into the bombing, the Afghan Ministry of Interior had claimed, "initial investigations show that Pakistan's ISI supplied Haqqani with the explosives".

"Pakistan is the key planner of this incident like in the past, but our security team is investigating the incident and these investigations have not been completed," Tolo News quoted Ministry of Interior spokesman Najib Danish as saying.

Chinese foreign minister would also work to discuss the possibility of setting up a meeting between the four members of the Quadrilateral Coordination Committee - Afghanistan, Pakistan, the United States and China.

The four-nation group was formed in January 2016 for reconciliation process in Afghanistan through the direct peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government.

"This time the quadrilateral meeting would be different compared to past meetings. At this meeting, Pakistan must support Afghanistan's policy over fighting insurgency," said Najibullah Azad, deputy spokesman for Ghani.

He also said that Kabul has gathered evidence showing that Pakistan is supporting insurgency in their country and it has shared the info with NATO and the U.S Congress and other organizations.

"When needed, the evidence will also be provided to the U.N," Azad told the media.


First published: 13 June 2017, 17:41 IST