The Afghan Foreign Ministry said Friday that discussions have begun in Islamabad regarding a restart of peace talks, and, according to the ministry spokesman Sibghat Ahmadi, new talks between the Afghan government, the Taliban and “other parties” (presumably the US) are likely to resume soon.
It is the second day that Taliban representatives are in Islamabad to meet with senior Pakistani officials.
Sources close to the discussions say the Taliban representatives are planning to remain in Islamabad for another two days and hold informal meetings with Zalmay Khalilzad, the US Special Envoy for Afghanistan Reconciliation.
Spokesperson Ahmadi said that since Pakistan is trying to start peace talks, the Afghan Foreign Ministry welcomes Pakistan’s hosting of the Taliban.
“This time we hope Pakistanis work honestly and effectively with the Afghan government to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table,” said Ahmadi.
On Thursday, however, the Afghan Presidential Palace stated that Pakistan’s hosting of the Taliban was a serious breach of diplomatic propriety.
“Hosting a group that is still perpetrating violence is against all principles of national relations. These terrorists who are not committed to peace and whose only stance is war should not be welcomed like this,” President Ghani’s spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said.
Footage of the Taliban delegation being warmly greeted by Pakistani leaders, and of the Taliban giving gifts to their hosts, was shown by news agencies and social media on Thursday.
Sources say an informal meeting between the US and Taliban representatives may also be held in Beijing.