• publish: 5 October 2019
  • time: 7:57 am
  • category: Politics
  • No: 10692
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Taliban representatives met Khalilzad in Pakistan

Afghan Taliban and US peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad met in Islamabad on Friday and discussed options to revive the peace process, Taliban sources privy to the meeting said.

Pakistan facilitated the meeting weeks after US President Donald Trump abruptly cancelled the peace process in early September, citing a Taliban-claimed attack in Afghan capital Kabul that had killed an American soldier and 10 other people.

Both sides decided to keep the meeting secret, according to the Taliban official.

Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar led the 12-member Taliban delegation. Taliban political spokesman in Qatar Suhail Shaheen did not respond to a query about the meeting.

An American official declined to comment and said Khalilzad’s consultations in Pakistan “do not represent re-start of peace process”.

He told Daily Times that the US envoy’s visit was the follow-up to meetings at the UN General Assembly in New York last month.

Khalilzad had met Prime Minister Imran Khan in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session and discussed option for the peace process. The prime minister had called for the revival of the peace process.

Daily Times has learnt that the US envoy visit to Pakistan was planned during the prime minister’s visit to the US.

Sources said the Taliban-US meeting in Islamabad was mainly focused on suggestions to reduce violence, as this had been a key issue during the peace negotiations concluded in August.

Taliban had refused to declare ceasefire despite repeated calls by the US unless the peace deal is signed that will pay the way for the withdrawal of the foreign forces.

Shaheen said earlier the Taliban and the US had finalised draft of the peace deal and the draft was handed over to the Qatari government for its formal announcement that would be followed by intra-Afghan dialogue. He said that a list of 23 foreign ministers was finalised to attend the signing ceremony in Qatar.

The Taliban spokesman had told Daily Times last week that group was ready to take the peace process forward and it was up to the US to decide if it wanted to find a peaceful solution to the conflict.

Taliban political representatives earlier visited Russia, Iran and China following US President Donald Trump’s abrupt cancellation of peace process with the Taliban in Qatar.

Pakistan had invited Taliban political representatives in Qatar to visit the country for talks on the peace process in Afghanistan, an official had earlier said.

The Taliban delegation also reportedly met Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday after their talks in the Foreign Office with a Pakistani delegation led by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, but the PM’s Office denied that any such meeting took place.

Sources said Taliban delegation will continue meetings also on Saturday.

Members of the Taliban delegation are: Mullah Beradar, head of the Taliban political office, Mullah Fazal, former army chief, Abdulhaq Wasiq, former intelligence chief, Amir Khan Muttaqi, member of the Taliban leadership council, Khairullah Khairkhwah, former interior minister, Abdul Salam Hanafi, deputy of Qatar political office, Zia-ur-Rahman Madani, Shahabuddin Dilawar, Said Rasol Halim, Nibras-ul-Haq Aziz, Mohammad Nabi Omari and Matiulhaq Khalis.

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