Kabul, Islamabad agree to give peace talks another shot
PESHAWAR (Pajhwok): Senior officials from Afghanistan and Pakistan on Wednesday agreed to give another shot to the stalled reconciliation talks with the Taliban, Pajhwok Afghan News has learnt on good authority.
The agreement came at a meeting among representatives from Afghan, Pakistani and American governments on the sidelines of the 5th Heart of Asia Conference in Islamabad, revealed a source familiar with the high-level talks.
However, the source ruled out an immediate return to talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government. He said the Taliban themselves were sharply divided on several issues, including leadership and re-engagement with the Ghani administration.
Participants of the conference, attended by representatives of more than two dozen countries, also called for the Taliban and other insurgent outfits renounce violence and initiate parleys with the Afghan government as soon as possible.
“Given the deep-seated, lingering trust deficit between the neighbours, Pakistan wants US and Chinese representatives to be part of the entire process,” said the official, who did not want to be named.
At the end of the two-day ministerial meeting, Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani said the United States, China and Pakistan had indicated their readiness to work together with the Afghan government on the peace drive.
Confident of the annual event leading to a result-oriented peace process, Rabbani hoped for seeing some positive moves in the coming week. He restated the government was willing to talk to the militants who shunned violence, recognise the constitution and join the reconciliation process.
Rabbani told reporters all stakeholders had agreed that dialogue was the surest way of bringing stability to Afghanistan. The government had set no fresh conditions for the resumption of peace parleys with the Taliban.
Rabbani said Pakistani leaders had reaffirmed their interest in seeing peace in Afghanistan. “So we hope they will honestly cooperate with Afghanistan in make the reconciliation process result-oriented.
At the trilateral meeting, Afghan, Pakistani and American delegations were respectively led by President Ashraf Ghani, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken.
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