Top Pakistan, Afghan and US diplomats will meet in Islamabad on April 27 to discuss the “obstacles” in the peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan, the country’s ambassador in the capital, Omar Daudzai, revealed on Tuesday.
Daudzai told The Express Tribune that the core group will also review the progress in the Afghan peace process achieved so far.
The trilateral forum was revived last month when senior diplomats from the three countries met in Dushanbe, Tajikistan after nearly a seven-month deadlock over the assassination of Afghan peace envoy Professor Burhanuddin Rabbani.
The Afghan diplomat said that US Special Envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan Marc Grossman and Afghan Deputy Minister Javed Ludin would attend the meeting. Pakistan would be represented by Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani.
“The meeting in Islamabad will be a follow-up on last month’s meeting in Dushanbe,” Daudzai said.
He added that the Afghan side will call upon Pakistan to “step up” the investigation into the killing of Prof Burhanuddin in September last year.
Kabul suspended high-level contacts with Islamabad after Burhanuddin’s assassination, claiming that the murder was planned with the help of “elements” in Pakistan and carried out by a suspected Afghan Taliban bomber from Quetta. Islamabad swiftly dismissed the charges and assured cooperation in a joint probe.
The trilateral meeting will be held ahead of the Nato summit in Chicago on May 20-21 to discuss matters relating to the planned withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan.
Pakistan has been invited to the summit but it has not yet decided to participate, the Foreign Ministry’s spokesman said at a press briefing last week.
Afghan sources told The Express Tribune that Pakistan and Afghanistan will also revive the joint peace and reconciliation process following the nomination of new peace envoy, Salahuddin Rabbani, son of the slain Burhanuddin.
Salahuddin was appointed head of the High Peace Council last week and is now all set for the revival of joint peace efforts, sources said.
The Afghan-Pakistan-US huddle will be held at a time when the Taliban have broken off talks with the US in Qatar, citing unacceptable demands by the US.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told The Express Tribune that the talks have not yet been resumed and the Taliban are still waiting for a “positive” response to three of their major demands, including release of prisoners held in Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 25th, 2012.