Pakistan to host 4-nation meet on Taliban peace talks

 

In the backdrop of increasing violence in Taliban strongholds in Afghanistan, senior officials of Pakistan, Afghanistan, China and US will meet in Islamabad on January 16 to firm up a roadmap for peace talks in the violence-beset country. The meeting will focus on discussing ways to resume and sustain the Afghan reconciliation talks.  All stakeholders will have “a shared responsibility” to carry the peace process forward.

The announcement comes after reports quoted unnamed Afghan presidential officials as saying the committee would meet in Kabul in the first week of January. However, Sartaj Aziz, Pakistan’s Foreign Affairs Advisor to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, stated that the meet would be held in Islamabad, and not Kabul.

A preliminary round of Afghan reconciliation talks was held in early July in Pakistan. However, the process was stalled after revelations that longtime Taliban leader Mullah Omar had been dead for more than two years. The official confirmation prompted the Taliban to pull out of the talks until it resolved the leadership crisis. The Afghan leaders also felt betrayed and blamed Pakistan for hiding the news of Omar’s death.

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