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Kabul Rebukes Pakistan Envoy Over Remark About Peace Talks

The wreckage of a bus after an attack that killed more than 40 Indian soldiers on February 14.
The wreckage of a bus after an attack that killed more than 40 Indian soldiers on February 14.

Afghanistan's Foreign Ministry has summoned the Pakistani ambassador to Kabul over his remark that Afghan peace talks could be affected if India resorted to violence against Pakistan in response to last week's deadly suicide attack on Indian troops in disputed Kashmir.

After the February 20 meeting with Ambassador Zahid Nasrullah, the ministry said in a statement that it deemed his comment to be "in contradiction with Pakistan's commitments with regards to realizing peace in Afghanistan."

Amid rising tensions between Islamabad and New Delhi, Nasrullah said on February 19 that any attack by India would "affect the stability of the entire region and impact the momentum" of the Afghan peace effort.

India has blamed Pakistan for the February 14 attack in Indian-administered Kashmir that killed more than 40 soldiers and warned its neighbor of a "jaw-breaking response."

Islamabad has denied any involvement and vowed to retaliate if it comes under attack.

The attack on Indian troops was claimed by the Pakistan-based Jaish-e Mohammed (JeM) militant group.

India has long accused Pakistan of supporting militants in Muslim-majority Kashmir, a Himalayan territory divided between the two nuclear archrivals but claimed in full by both.

The Afghan Foreign Ministry said the Kabul government "once again calls on Pakistan to act upon its commitments with regards to Afghanistan, particularly those in relation to peace and refrain from making irrelevant statements that do not help solve any problem."

Afghanistan “has always wanted a reduction in any tension in the region, and the differences to be resolved through dialogue and peaceful means,” the statement also said.

The Afghan Taliban has held a series of direct talks with U.S. peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad in recent months to put an end to the 17-year war in Afghanistan.

As an important player in the region and an Afghan neighbor, Pakistan is seen as potentially having a key role in any settlement.

During his news conference in Kabul on February 19, Nasrullah said that Islamabad wants a "peaceful, stable, prosperous, sovereign Afghanistan."

"We have always said that we have influence -- but limited influence -- on the Taliban, and we would use that to the best effect. We are working sincerely on that," the Pakistani ambassador added.

With reporting by Reuters and TOLOnews

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