Division among Taliban leaders have been rife.
A North Atlantic Treaty Organization military convoy led by the United States was attacked by a Taliban suicide bomber Tuesday in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Much of the Taliban leadership is based in Pakistan, and persuading Islamabad to support efforts aimed at a political solution to the Afghan conflict has been a priority for Afghan President Ashraf Ghani since he came to office. However, he told his weekly press briefing last week that Pakistan is facilitating the peace process.
The talks were hailed as a “breakthrough” by Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
The Taliban’s official spokesman has in the past disavowed the tentative peace process, saying those meeting with Afghanistan’s government were not authorized to do so. Representatives of China and the United States were also present during the meeting, it said.
In a clear departure from the past, Afghanistan’s enemies have been declared to be Pakistan’s enemies, and Afghan Taliban fighters are accused of acts of terrorism.
“Three suicide bombers were involved in the attack“, he said.
The commander was identified by Afghan intelligence as Gul Zaman, who had been in Achin district where Islamic State sympathisers have taken territory from rival Taliban insurgents.
North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ended its combat mission in the wartorn country in December, maintaining a smaller residual force for training, leaving Afghan troops and police to face their first “fighting season” battling the Taliban on their own.
This comes as tensions have intensified across the Durand Line following a brief clash between the Afghan security forces with the Pakistani troops in Paktika province last week.
Unofficial sources said that the nature of the explosion was a suicide auto bomb targeting a two-vehicle convoy passing by the area, where a lawmaker’s house was also located.
The U.S.-led military coalition said there were no fatalities.
Karimi described the wounded as “foreigners”, but there was no confirmation of their identity.
In addition to settling with the Taliban, Ghani has also pursued closer ties with Pakistan. By the recent admission of ex- President Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan had sought to weaken Afghanistan as a means of countering Indian influence in the country. It was agreed that for lasting peace in the region, each side would approach the process in sincerity and with full commitment, it said.
Although the first official acknowledgement, Tuesday’s announcement follows several rounds of unofficial contact between prominent Afghan figures and Taliban representatives.