Musharraf: Karachi Taliban Mission to Close, Others to Remain Open
Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf confirmed on Thursday that his government was closing the consulate of Afghanistan's ruling Taliban regime in Pakistan's largest city, Karachi, but said other missions would remain open.
Musharraf said the consulate in the port city was "not serving any purpose" and was "even having negative effects".
Addressing journalists during a brief visit to Paris, Musharraf said the Taliban's consulate in Peshawar would remain open, on account of the large number of Afghan refugees in the region, as would the main embassy in Islamabad. He did not mention the regime's other consulate, in Quetta.
Earlier this week the Pakistani authorities ordered the Taliban ambassador in Islamabad, Abdul Salam Zaeef, to stop talking to journalists after he frequently held press conferences about the US military strikes in Afghanistan.
Pakistan's continuing diplomatic relations with the Taliban regime were in the international interest, Musharraf said, denying that his country intend to break off those relations.
"It is in the international interest that a useful window of diplomatic contact be maintained" with the Taliban, he said.
Pakistan is the only country to still recognize the Taliban diplomatically.
Musharraf's comments on the Karachi consulate confirmed a report by the Afghan Islamic Press in the city.
It quoted Taliban sources as saying that the Pakistan government conveyed its decision on Wednesday and the consulate had started preparations to close -- PARIS, (AFP)
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