Talks postponed but not derailed: Pakistan
KABUL (Pajhwok): Speaking on the floor of lower house or National Assembly, Pakistan’s Defence Minister Khawaja Asif made it clear the second round of talks, which was scheduled to take place on July 31 in Pakistan, was postponed at the request of the Afghan government and the Taliban leadership.
Afghan Taliban supremo Mullah Omar neither died nor was buried in Pakistan, Pakistan’s Dawn.com quoting him as saying. The defence minister refuted Afghan spy agency’s claims that the Afghan Taliban supremo died in a hospital in Karachi, “He was neither in Karachi nor in Quetta,” he said.
“Whether he died now or two years ago is another controversy which we do not wish to be a part of,” Asif added.
Further, Asif said Pakistan is only playing the role of a mediator in talks between Afghan Taliban and the government in Kabul.
“We do not accept that we have a control on Taliban, we are only playing a role of mediator,” the defence minister said, adding that US and Chinese officials are participating in the Pakistan-brokered peace talks as observers.
He reiterated the government’s desire for peace talks to continue.
The fate of the nascent Afghan peace process hangs in the balance following the confirmation of death of Taliban supreme leader Mullah Omar and the subsequent rifts in the ranks of the ultraorthodox militia.
Splits have emerged at the top of the Taliban following the appointment of Mullah Akhtar Mansour as chief of the Afghan Taliban, replacing the movement’s founder Mullah Omar, whose death was confirmed last week. Some of the top leaders of the group, including Omar’s son and brother, have refused to pledge their allegiance to Mansour, saying the process to select him was rushed, even biased.
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