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Pakistan engaged Taliban to get talks back on track

Updated Jun 28, 2013 09:59am


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— File Photo
— File Photo

ISLAMABAD, June 27: Pakistan remains engaged with the Taliban to put the Doha process back on track after the controversial opening of the insurgent group’s Doha office that deadlocked efforts for peace in Afghanistan.

A Pakistani official told Dawn on Thursday that negotiators were talking to the Taliban leadership to persuade them to get on with the talks with the Americans and the Afghan government.

“The process is continuing. In fact it is in everyone’s interest that the process remains alive,” the official said.

Taliban had initially agreed for talks with the US and Afghanistan’s High Peace Council on Pakistan’s prodding, but the row over the name of the office used in the opening ceremony and raising of a flag at the Doha office angered the Karzai government which cancelled the visit of its negotiators to Qatar and suspended talks with the US on a bilateral security arrangement.

Later, the Afghan government agreed to join the Doha process following US efforts to salvage the talks, but Taliban leaders have yet to come up with their formal response.

A transcript of an interview of a spokesman for the Taliban office in Doha, Dr Mohammed Naeem, posted on the group’s website indicated that the insurgent leadership was moving towards the start of talks both with the US and the Afghan government.

“Talks will be conducted with all sides involved in Afghanistan… meetings will be held with all Afghans according to the exigency of situation,” Dr Naeem said.

However, Taliban intention to use the office for “improving relations with the world countries” and their insistence on the controversial name could still prove to be sticking points for the beginning of the dialogue.

American sources say that Taliban, after 18-month-long talks on Doha office, had agreed that they would neither pose themselves as a government in exile – as they had tried to suggest by adopting the name of Political Office of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan – or use the office as an embassy for reaching out to other countries.

The sole purpose of the office was to facilitate a political settlement of the Afghan war.

Among the other conditions agreed by Taliban, American sources say, was that they would meet the Afghan High Peace Council and sever relations with Al Qaeda.

Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman Aizaz Chaudhry said at his weekly briefing on Thursday: “We have affirmed our commitment to consider all possible measures that we believe would contribute to the reconciliation process in the larger interest of peace in Afghanistan.”

Pakistan, he said, considered these talks as an important step towards national reconciliation in Afghanis-tan.

US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan James Dobbins earlier this week visited Pakistan and sought Islamabad’s continued support for the troubled peace process.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, after his meeting with Ambassador Dobbins, called President Karzai to reiterate Pakistan’s support for the process.

About the role played by Pakistan in the opening of Doha office, Mr Chaudhry said: “Doha process was facilitated by stressing on all stakeholders the need to hold dialogue to reconcile their positions in the interest of bringing lasting peace to Afghanistan.”


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Comments (8) Closed

Mustafa Jun 28, 2013 07:19am

Pakistan should come out clearly and say whether it agrees or disagrees with Taliban on using Doha office to pose themselves as a government in exile

Johar Jun 28, 2013 07:47am

I will love to see a peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan for my neighbor Afghan brothers and sisters. Please everyone think of long term place for oyur next generation and agree to lose something ot gain something. PEACE

CClements Jun 28, 2013 08:31am

Giving recognition to the Taliban is something Pakistan will regret. You will never know if this is the first step to their hidden machination to carve out an autonomous region for themselves. This would change the entire political and geographical balance in the region. Their attempts to take Afghanistan is one way of letting the world know that they want a place of their own. I feel Pakistan needs to take the challenge to take them out and keep them in their place where they belong.

Ahluwalia Jun 28, 2013 08:37am

This exercise to buy a face saving peace at all costs and providing a back door entry to TALIBAN with their medieval mind set would spell doom to Afgaan folks& NWFP of Pakistan. The neighboring countries including Iran & India would pay for it dearly . Very sad day for the humanity as none of the parties are playing a positive role for the prosperity , stability & future of Afghanistan and the region . The new Government in Pakistan should at least take a sincere lead to find a long term solution & help in laying foundation for peaceful coexistence of the region instead sowing the seed of discord by playing ball with TALIBAN to contain perhaps Iran & India . Positivity on part of PAKISTAN by sincerely helping a troubled brotherly nation would bring in the windfall dividends of peace , prosperity & friendship from masses of the region including INDIA. Please raise to the occasion .

pathanoo Jun 28, 2013 11:03am

Taliban can not be trusted. Only a fool would trust them. They will negotiate in good faith only when they know that they can not win by force and will never have the opportunity to form a government based on AK47.

Sagar Sohail Jun 28, 2013 12:30pm

But, one must ask... where do all these diplomatic and negotiating talents go when it comes to restoring peace within Pakistan itself? Maybe our specialization is in solving the problems of others (specially US) and creating them for ourselves!

Parivel Jun 28, 2013 02:27pm

Shame on USA. Talking to terrorists who killed innocent peoples in the name ISLAM. Tomorrow even they will be ready to talk to AL-QAEDA.

Pakistanis must understand these USA who is always working on their safety & Forget religious aggressiveness & believe in co -existance of all the belief with out harming each other.

Agha Ata Jun 28, 2013 04:37pm

Oh, really?