The Taliban representatives made this offer during crucial talks with senior Afghan government officials in the popular tourist resort of Murree Tuesday night. Officials from Pakistan, China and the United States also attended the closed door talks.
The Afghan Government side demanded immediate ceasefire by the Taliban. “Negotiations and attacks cannot move together”. The Afghan side told the Taliban representatives.
In response to that, the Taliban representatives said they would stop attacks if Islamabad and Beijing guaranteed that a ‘united national government’ would be formed in Afghanistan.
Both sides would now go back and consult their respective leaderships before initiating another round of talks later this month. The next round is expected to be led by the Afghan government foreign minister. However, it is not clear whether the next round would take place in Islamabad or somewhere else.
The participants exchanged views on ways and means to bring peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan. It was agreed that for lasting peace in the region, each side would approach the process in sincerity and with full commitment.
The participants recognized the need to develop confidence-building measures to narrow down trust deficit. The participants agreed to continue talks to create an environment conducive to peace and reconciliation. The next meeting will be held at a mutually convenient date after Ramadan.
China says it is ready to play a constructive role
China’s foreign ministry, meanwhile, said their country was ready to play a constructive role in achieving peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan. “China is ready to work with relevant parties and play a constructive role in achieving broad and inclusive peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan,” said an official statement.
It termed the meeting between Afghan government and Taliban representatives as ‘positive’ and said the meeting was conducive to promoting peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan.
According to the statement, China appreciated the collective willingness for convening this meeting to advance the peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan. “China encourages and supports the government of Afghanistan to have peace talks with the Taliban, and always maintains close contact with the concerned parties,” it added.