September 3, 2015 / 2:56 PM / 2 years ago

Pakistani official to urge Afghans to stop blame for attacks

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistan’s foreign policy chief will meet Afghan leaders on Friday in an effort to ease tensions over attacks by militants who Afghanistan says are based in Pakistan.

Sartaj Aziz, foreign affairs adviser to Pakistan’s prime minister, will be in the Afghan capital Kabul for a regional economic conference but will hold other meetings on the sidelines, the foreign ministry said Thursday.

A senior Pakistani official told reporters that Aziz would urge Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to end what Islamabad views as inflammatory rhetoric blaming Pakistan for a recent spate of attacks linked to Taliban insurgents and the militant Haqqani network.

“Afghanistan must stop this campaign against Pakistan,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Aziz will also suggest ways to restart peace talks between Afghanistan and the Taliban, which were derailed with the recent revelation that longtime Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar had been dead for two years.

Ghani, who sought to improve relations with Pakistan soon after taking office nearly a year ago, reacted furiously to successive bombings in Kabul that have killed more than 50 people over the past month.

His office released a statement on Monday again saying that Pakistan must do more to crack down on the Taliban and Haqqani leaders, and operatives he says are based on Pakistani soil.

U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice also delivered a message to Pakistani officials on Sunday about the Haqqani network’s bases in Pakistan.

Aziz said this week that Pakistan’s military had significantly weakened the Haqqani network, and that 80 or 90 percent of the militants’ operations were based in Afghanistan.

Writing by Kay Johnson; Editing by Mark Trevelyan

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