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Murree talks had Taliban leadership’s nod: Aziz

Murree talks had Taliban leadership’s nod: Aziz

Jul 14, 2015 - 14:14

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): Sartaj Aziz, advisor to Pakistaninfo-icon’s prime minister on national security, said on Monday that ‘key leaders of the Afghan Talibaninfo-icon’ had attended last week’s meeting with Afghan officials in Murree with the approval of their Central Leadership Council.

Deputy Foreign Minister Khalil Hekmat Karzai, who led the Afghan delegation, had earlier confirmed his team had met influential Taliban leaders.

“The people we met in Pakistan were representing Akhtar Mansoor (Taliban’s acting chief) and their Central Shurainfo-icon (council),” Karzai had told media in Kabul upon his arrival from Pakistan. He was confident of converting the ‘Murree Peace Process’ into formal dialogue.

While Aziz hoped more Taliban leaderes would join the next round of talks and it would give a boost to the process. "The Murree rendezvous has rekindled hopes for durable peace in Afghanistaninfo-icon. Still there are concerns that ‘opponents of peace’ could try to derail the process." “Yes, there will be some people who could try to sabotage peace process,” Aziz said.

He was confident that progress in dialogue would lead to restoration of peace in the strife-torn country. “Everyone hopes that hostilities will cease with the continuation of the process,” he told The Express Tribune in a brief chat at the foreign ministry where he briefed media about Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s recent meeting with his Indian counterpart in the Russian city of Ufa.

Aziz is satisfied with the outcome of the Murree meeting. “It was very productive. It was the first time Afghan government officials and the Taliban sat across the table,” he added.

The role of the Taliban’s political office in Qatar is important for any fruitful talks and the Taliban leadership has long been insisting the Qatar office be assigned the task of pursuing political affairs. A spokesman for the Qatar office, Dr Muhammad Naeem, said no Qatar-based member had taken part in the Murree talks.

Aziz, however, hopes participation of the Qatar office would come through. “As the Taliban’s important leaders had attended the talks with the approval of the central council, the Qatar office will follow what the Taliban central leadership decides,” he added.


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