Gen. Raheel heads to Kabul for talks with Afghan leaders
Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen. Raheel Sharif would also meet Afghan military leaders on how to take forward the Kabul-led reconciliation process, his spokesman said ahead of the daylong trip.
“During his visit, the army chief will hold meetings with political and military leadership of Afghanistan,” Lt Gen Asim Bajwa said.“We are going there (to Kabul) with all sincerity,” he told reporters at a social gathering in Islamabad.
Deliberations on the resumption of the Afghan reconciliation process and instituting a border management mechanism are high on Gen. Raheel Sharif’s agenda, a senior security official confided to Pajhwok Afghan News.
He said the contacts made with different Taliban leaders so far would come up for discussions, which would largely focus on scheduling of the meetings. A strategy for dealing with the insurgent factions, which are ready for talks with Kabul, will also be discussed.
Before the resumption of the dialogue, representatives from Afghanistan, Pakistan, the US and China will meet to approve plans for restarting the engagement with the Taliban, possibly in mid-January 2016.
A mechanism for regulating cross-border movement will also figure at the meetings in Kabul, according to the source, who saw little hope for progress in this regard. He said there were political hurdles in Kabul to a new plan for the regulation of movement across the Durand Line.
The army chief was initially scheduled to visit Kabul before the Heart of Asia conference in Islamabad on December 9. However, testy statements from Kabul led to a delay in the trip.
In July this year, landmark Pakistan-brokered peace parleys between the Afghan government and the Taliban collapsed after the disclosure of Mullah Mohammad Omar’s death by Kabul-based officials.
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