Speaking to CNBC on Sunday, the Pakistani foreign minister, Bilawal Bhuto Zardari, said that the Taliban didn’t “seem to respond to pressure well,” and that there needed to be an “environment conducive to engagement” with the group.
The Taliban on Sunday reacted angrily to Mr Zardari’s warning on Saturday at the Munich Security Conference on the terrorist threats emanating from Afghanistan.
“Pakistan’s recent insecurity is not new but something that has pre-existed for the past two decades… we advise Pakistan to discuss bilateral issues face-to-face with the Afghan government instead of complaining at international conferences,” a Taliban foreign ministry statement said.
However, Zardari told CNBC that “We need to see the [the Taliban’s] will take on terrorist elements and they too are under threat of ISIS. And then going forward, they need to be able to build their capacity to be able to take on these groups.”
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Pakistani government officials have, in recent months, repeatedly expressed frustrations at the Taliban, accusing the group of giving operational sanctuary to Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, who, on 17 February, attacked the Karachi police headquarter.
Zardari said the Taliban needed help. “Our message is help us help them. And steps like the ban on women’s education surely isn’t helping them and it isn’t helping us help them.”