Another Pakistani government official doubted whether the talks would have any positive outcome, claiming that the Afghan government was actually holding discussions with a splinter factor of the Taliban led by Mullah Mansoor Dadullah – who had allegedly been cut off by the Taliban’s leader Mullah Omar. Yet Pakistan has complicated Afghan-sponsored efforts to arrange peace talks by precluding any negotiators but those trusted in an agreement to protect its security interests.
LONDON: In what is fast becoming a game of cat and mouse, an Afghan delegation has arrived Islamabad in the latest bid to start peace talks with the Taliban, with there being no official confirmation on whether the militants would agree to take part.
The eight-member Afghan delegation arrived in the Pakistani capital on a United Nations flight on Monday for meetings that were requested by the Kabul government and facilitated by Islamabad, according to worldwide officials.
Both sides even made a decision to meet once again after the ending of the holy month of Ramadan.
Sources say American and Chinese officials are sitting in on the Afghan-Taliban talks.
Other participants include members of the country’s High Peace Council, which is the top Afghan peace-negotiating body, and representatives of many of Afghanistan’s dominant political figures. Eight days later, a suicide auto bomb wounded 21 Afghans in a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation convoy. The discrepancy in the timing could not immediately be reconciled, however the officials both confirm that Afghan government representatives, including Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Karzai, had travelled to Pakistan for the meeting.
It is the first time Kabul has publicly acknowledged that someone as senior as a government minister was talking directly to the Taliban ― though some earlier meetings were shrouded in secrecy, so it was not entirely clear who took part.
FO declared that this was the first session of talks which ended on very progressive note. They also demand the complete departure of foreign troops from Afghanistan.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the United States welcomed the talks in Pakistan, calling them “an important step toward advancing prospects for a credible peace”.
North Atlantic Treaty Organisation withdrew its troops from Afghanistan in December previous year, but a smaller force has stayed on for training and counter-terrorism operations.
When the USA combat mission officially came to a close at the end of past year, formal peace talks seemed less likely than ever, at least in the short term.