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Pakistan in touch with Afghan rebel groups over direct peace talks

Pakistan in touch with Afghan rebel groups over direct peace talks

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Feb 25, 2016 - 15:12

PESHAWAR (Pajhwok): All Talibaninfo-icon factions are being approached to come to the negotiating table for direct peace talks with representatives of the Afghan government, Pakistaninfo-icon announced on Thursday.

A day earlier, the Taliban’s Qatar office said it had not been contacted regarding the upcoming peace negotiations in Islamabad as part of a four-nation push to revive the stalled reconciliation process.

The Taliban’s political bureau said it was unawareof any peace talks, which the Foreign Ministry in Kabulinfo-icon said would take place in Pakistan in the first week of March. The Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) endorsed the decision on Tuesday.

Also on Wednesday, a Hezb-i-Islamiinfo-icon Afghanistaninfo-icon leader told a Pakistani newspaper the group had not been invited formally to the proposed talks with the Afghan government. As and when invited, the group will consider attending the dialogue.

Ghairat Baheer, head of HIA’s political wing, told The News both President Ashraf Ghani and Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani had hinted at their interest in holding peace talks with it.

“We give importance to these statements and are holding consultations at the party level. We will make a decision on our participation once an invitation is extended to the Hezb-i-Islami,” he added

But ending the confusion, the Foreign Office spokesman told reporters in Islamabad that Pakistan was in touch with different Taliban factions and other Afghan rebel outfits.

Mohammad Nafees Zakaria, addressing a weekly media briefing, said all Taliban factions had been asked to send their authorised representatives to Islamabad for the first round of direct peace talks.

The Afghan Taliban’s Qatar office has said it has not been contacted regarding an upcoming peace gathering in Islamabad as part of a four-nation push to revive the stalled peace process.

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