QUETTA: As part of efforts to find a solution and restore peace at Pak-Afghan border at Chaman, a delegation comprising religious scholars and tribal elders from Chaman left for Kandahar on Monday, with the mandate to hold negotiations with Afghan Taliban leadership over the border clashes issue.

“It is a 16-member delegation, headed by a prominent religious scholar Qari Aslam Alamyar, including tribal elders and prominent business leaders of Chaman,” an official of the local administration said.

The delegation will meet Kandahar Governor Haji Moha­mmad Wafaand and other senior leaders of Afghan Taliban to hold talks to ease tension on both sides of the border.

The talks are being held over a week after unprovoked shelling by the Afghan border forces on the civilian settlement in Pakistan left at least nine people dead and over 40 others wounded.

The decision to send the delegation of tribal elders and religious leaders was taken after the Saturday flag meeting was postponed. The Pakistani officials then said the flag meeting between security officials of both countries could not yield positive results, as the authorities across the border were faced with the challenge of grouping within Afghan leaders. In this situation, the Afghan Taliban could not ensure concrete steps to bring normality to border areas.

Sources said that after meeting with the governor of Kandahar and other Taliban leaders, the delegation could visit Kabul, if needed, for further negotiations with the high-ups of the Afghan government including Defence Minister Mullah Yaqoob, the son of late Mullah Omar.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan and Afghan forces were alert at their positions with heavy weapons to meet any untoward situation. A team of senior doctors and paramedical staff with all required medicines earlier arrived at Chaman to provide medical treatment to the victims of unprovoked shelling by the Afghan forces.

Published in Dawn, December 20th, 2022

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