KABUL: Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and the United States will hold talks in Islamabad on Monday aimed at reviving the Afghan peace process.

Afghan Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmad Shekib Mostaghni said on Saturday that the representatives would discuss a “roadmap for peace talks”.

The talks were agreed upon during a visit to Kabul last month by Chief of Army Staff Gen Raheel Sharif.

Monday’s talks do not include the Taliban, who have been battling the US-backed government for nearly 15 years and have recently stepped up their attacks.

Talks with the Taliban have been on hold since July, when they collapsed after just one meeting following Afghanistan’s announcement that longtime Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar had been dead for more than two years.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani attended a regional “Heart of Asia” conference last month in Islamabad, which called for the resumption of the Afghan-Taliban peace negotiations.

Afghan civil society groups on Saturday called for an inclusive peace dialogue, saying that women’s and human rights should be part of considerations.

Sonya Aslami of the Afghan People’s Dialogue on Peace Initiative said women’s participation in the peace process was essential to its success.

“The government should consider it as a priority,” she said. The umbrella group said five years of peace negotiations had failed “due to a lack of clear objectives, a lack of inclusivity in peace planning and insufficient consideration of people’s demands”.

Read: US to attend Islamabad talks on Afghanistan

Published in Dawn, January 10th, 2016

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