Peace process set to resume; Gen. Raheel due in Kabul
PESHAWAR (Pajhwok): The Afghan-led reconciliation process is expected to resume within a couple of weeks, as hectic diplomatic moves continue to yield encouraging results, says an official familiar with talks behind closed doors.
As part of ongoing consultations, the Pakistan Army chief would air-dash to Kabul within days for talks with top Afghan leadership, including President Ashraf Ghani, Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah and other officials.
One Peshawar-based diplomat, privy to the consultative process, confided to Pajhwok Afghan News Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen. Raheel Sharif would visit Kabul this week in response to an invitation from Ghani.
Earlier in the month, during his ice-breaking trip to Islamabad, the Afghan leader met Gen. Sharif. He is believed to have exchanged candid views with the COAS on the renewed peace push and invited him to Kabul.
Representatives from Pakistan, China, the United States and Afghanistan are to meet soon in Islamabad or at another venue to confer on how to jump-start the dialogue on ending nearly four decades of conflict in the neighbouring country.
Meanwhile, a leading Pakistani newspaper reported negotiations between the Afghan government and Taliban would start anew next month.The News International said positive signals were coming from both sides.
Pakistan’s National Security Adviser (NSA) Lt. Gen. (R) Nasser Khan Janjua his Afghan counterpart Muhammad Hanif Atmar, Chinese diplomat Deng Xijun and US Special Representative Richard Olson will take part in the deliberations.
The newspaper quoted well-placed sources as signallingTaliban’s willingness to rejoin talks. “For the purpose, quiet diplomacy involving the four counties is at work and yielding positive results...”
On Friday, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif met his senior aides to evolvea strategy for dealing effectively with the challenges facing Afghanistan. The meeting was also attended by the army chief and other senior officials.
In late July, landmark peace parleys between the Afghan government and the Taliban collapsed after the disclosure of Mullah Mohammad Omar’s death.
National Security Council (NSC) Spokesman Tawab Ghorzang rejected rumors published by some media outlets saying peace talks with Taliban would begin on 1st January 2016 and NSC advisor Mohammad Hanif Atmar would lead the Afghan delegation.
He told Pajhwok Afghan News no such decision had been made and the president would discuss every development regarding peace talks at the NSC and the media would be informed subsequently.
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