KABUL: Pakistan will present a list of Taliban representatives willing to negotiate with Kabul at a four-nation meeting being held on Monday aimed at reviving the Afghan peace process, an Afghan official said on Sunday.

Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and the United States are scheduled to meet in Islamabad on Monday to discuss a roadmap for peace talks. The meeting will not include the Taliban.

Javid Faisal, deputy spokesman for Afghan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, said that Pakistan’s list would include Taliban members who were and were not willing to participate in talks with Kabul on ending the 15-year war.


Four-nation preparatory meeting being held in Islamabad today


Any agreement would include “bilateral cooperation on eliminating terrorism,” Mr Faisal said. “Those who are interested in peace can join the dialogue, but those who wish to continue the fight will be targeted through joint counter-terrorism platforms,” he said.

Terms for the upcoming meeting were finalised last month during a visit to Kabul by Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff Gen Raheel Sharif, Mr Faisal said.

Pakistani officials could not be immediately reached for comment.

Pakistan had agreed to cut off financial support to the Taliban fighters, including in Quetta and Peshawar, he said.

Pakistan was among three countries that recognised the Taliban’s 1996-2001 regime and Kabul has long accused Islamabad of continuing to covertly support the group in their insurgency.

A senior official in Pakistan’s foreign ministry confirmed Monday’s meeting, adding that Islamabad would be represented by Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry while Afghanistan would be represented by Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Khalil Karzai.

A first round of peace talks with the Taliban was held in July but collapsed after the Taliban belatedly confirmed the death of their founder Mullah Omar.

News of the death led to infighting between senior Taliban leaders and the group’s new chief Mullah Akhtar Mansour, which in turn led to the creation of a new faction headed by Mohamed Rasool in November.

In December, Mullah Mansour was reportedly shot and wounded, apparently by one of his own men.

But despite the internal rifts and the onset of winter, the group has continued to carry out attacks. In September the Taliban briefly seized the northern provincial capital of Kunduz, the first time they had gained control of a city since the fall of their regime in 2001.

The Taliban said in a statement last week that they wanted to maintain good relations with other countries even as they waged war against “American occupation”.

“(We) want to have good relations with all nations and further expand them. It will be better to have direct contact with each other and exchange views regarding our goals and values,” the group said in the statement, which was published online.

Afghanistan suffered one of its bloodiest years on record in 2015. The number of civilians killed is expected to have surpassed the record high of more than 3,180 Afghan civilians killed in 2014, the United Nations said.

Published in Dawn, January 11th, 2016

Opinion

Editorial

IMF package
Updated 28 Jan, 2023

IMF package

While it is crucial to seek immediate IMF funding to shore up its reserves, the govt shouldn’t focus only on short-term relief.
Dar unpegged
28 Jan, 2023

Dar unpegged

IT is over. Nearly four months after Ishaq Dar descended on the cash-strapped economy with some decidedly outlandish...
Lurking hazards
28 Jan, 2023

Lurking hazards

OVERSIGHT of illegal industrial activity occurring within residential areas in the country is weak, especially in...
Election time
Updated 27 Jan, 2023

Election time

There are concerns whether the ECP will be sufficiently able to protect the integrity of elections if they are held under partisan governments.
SCO invite
27 Jan, 2023

SCO invite

THOUGH India’s invitation to Pakistan to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation events in Goa later this ...
Call to arms
27 Jan, 2023

Call to arms

ONE way the state abdicates responsibility in Pakistan is by farming out its functions to the private sector. In ...