Kabul, Islamabad pursue plan for talks with Taliban
KABUL (PAN): In a joint peace initiative, Pakistan and Afghanistan are trying to get some Taliban leaders off a UN list of terrorists to enable them to join negotiations and hold government positions, a media report said on Saturday.
Under the draft plan, the Taliban would take part in national, parliamentary or provincial elections after severing links to Al Qaeda, renouncing violence and respecting the Afghan Constitution, Bloomberg news agency reported.
It quoted High Peace Council member Azizullah Din Mohammad as saying the “Peace Process Roadmap to 2015” was initiated by President Hamid Karzai in coordination with Pakistani authorities.
The plan was formally presented to Pakistani officials last month by High Peace Council Chairman Salahuddin Rabbani during a visit to Islamabad. Following the trip, Pakistan set free several Taliban figures to facilitate the reconciliation process.
But a US official opposed the blueprint, saying it would give the Taliban de facto control of Pashtun-dominated areas of southern and eastern Afghanistan. Additionally, the official said, the plan would have disturbing repercussions for women’s rights, girls’ education and efforts against opium poppy cultivation.
Din Mohammad, who participated in talks on the plan, said it: “It diminishes the US role in coordinating the talks, but it does not mean we won’t respect US peace efforts at all.”
Mohammad Ismail Qasimyar, another member of the peace panel, told Bloomberg: “Because it backs insurgents, that’s why the country can also encourage them for peace. No country, including the US, can help Afghanistan with its peace plans except Pakistan.”
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