Pakistan, Afghanistan to revive talks with Taliban

Published: November 9, 2012

Kabul’s top interlocutor to visit soon and resume stalled dialogue. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Afghanistan are due to hold crucial talks next week in Islamabad to revive a stalled process seeking direct negotiations with the Afghan Taliban, a senior foreign ministry official told The Express Tribune on Thursday.

The official, who asked to remain anonymous, disclosed that top Afghan negotiator Salahuddin Rabbani is expected to travel to Pakistan soon to resume discussions on the Afghan reconciliation process.

Rabbani, who heads the Afghan High Peace Council, twice put off his scheduled trip to Pakistan in August owing to tensions over cross-border raids and Islamabad’s reluctance to release key Taliban leaders.

However, after months of quiet diplomacy, the two neighbours have agreed to revive discussions, the official added.

When contacted, foreign ministry spokesperson Moazzam Ali Khan confirmed to The Express Tribune that Afghan delegation led by Rabbani is expected to visit Pakistan shortly.

This will be the top Afghan interlocutor’s first trip to Pakistan since he was appointed head of the council following the killing of his father and predecessor Burhanuddin Rabbani in September last year.

Burhanuddin’s assassination led to a suspension of talks between the two countries with Kabul publicly pointing fingers at Pakistan’s top spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), for being behind the murder — a charge it strongly denies.

However, both sides decided to resume discussions when Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf visited Kabul and held talks with Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

Until now the two countries were struggling to put the process back on track because of tensions on several issuess.

The official revealed that the high-powered Afghan delegation will meet the country’s top civil and military leadership to discuss various options including how the process of Afghan reconciliation can be expedited.

Afghan authorities have publicly held Islamabad responsible for the slow progress towards reconciliation because, according to them, it did little to reach out to Taliban’s senior leaders, who Kabul says are based in Pakistan.

Pakistan maintains that it is doing whatever it can to help the Afghan government in reaching out to insurgents. But officials said Kabul was yet to come up with a clear list of demands.

Meanwhile, speaking to reporters in his weekly briefing, Foreign Office Spokesman Khan said Pakistan hoped that the Afghan government as well as the US-led Isaf will take action against Mullah Fazllullah, who is currently hiding in Afghanistan.

“We have shared dossiers on Fazlullah both with the Afghan government as well as Isaf. We are intensively engaging both sides to take care of this issue,” he added.   

The spokesman said Pakistan will host a regional conference next week to discuss measures aimed at addressing challenges posed by illicit drug production, demand and trafficking.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 9th, 2012.

 

Reader Comments (9)

  • vasan
    Nov 9, 2012 - 10:33AM

    Good idea. First condition should be killing by all parties should stop. (Incl drones)

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  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Nov 9, 2012 - 10:43AM

    Talks with Taliban means that neither Pakistan nor Afghanistan can some them for carrying subversive activities across both sides of the borders.

    Talking to Taliban is equivalent to accepting defeat by both the country and at the same time to recognize the power of a third forces which cannot be defeat with state’s power.

    Look at the agenda of Taliban. They want to over come and install their own government in Pakistan as well as in Afghanistan.

    This will be the end of liberalization in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The ultimate rule of Taliban will prevail and the kind of Islam which Taliban want to impose in both the countries.

    May Al-Mighty Allah save all of us from Taliban and similar like minded forces. Aameen.

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  • Asad
    Nov 9, 2012 - 11:53AM

    If the Columbians can do it and if the Philippines can talk peace with FARC and Moro Rebels after fighting the them for decades then why not Afghanistan and Pakistan.

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  • Jat
    Nov 9, 2012 - 3:01PM

    The gap between Pakistan and Afghanistan is closing very fast. Soon it will be difficult to differentiate which is which…

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  • mc duffy
    Nov 9, 2012 - 7:02PM

    the only way peace can be achieved is by killing the TTP leadership this will demoralize the substrata, we should learn from the israelis on how ruthlessly they eliminated their enemies, Taliban have too much innocent blood on their hands for them to be forgiven.

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  • Zalmai
    Nov 9, 2012 - 7:12PM

    @Jat

    “The gap between Pakistan and Afghanistan is closing very fast. Soon it will be difficult to differentiate which is which”

    How so? Afghanistan has not institutionalized Deobandi/Wahhabi/Salafi indoctrination in its educational institutions like Pakistan has. You forget that Taliban were indoctrinated in Pakistan not Afghanistan and Afghanistan does not aspire to become an Arab country where there is a Youm e Rasul related event every other month.

    Most people in Afghanistan don’t identify with the Taliban brand of Islam. As a matter of fact people in Afghanistan label anyone that espouses Taliban ideology, a Pakistani stooge.Recommend

  • Zalmai
    Nov 9, 2012 - 9:04PM

    @Jat

    “The gap between Pakistan and Afghanistan is closing very fast. Soon it will be difficult to differentiate which is which…”

    How so? Afghans and Pakistanis are as different as day and night. We speak Pashto and Farsi and our roots are are more aligned with Persian civilization not Indian civilization of Pakistan. Even the Pashtuns of Afghanistan and Pakistan don’t share much in common anymore. Just because Pakistanis started wearing Afghan style Shalwar Kameez and Karakol hats don’t make us similar.

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  • Nov 9, 2012 - 9:06PM

    Eleven years’s effort were made but American are still faiiled to bring Taliban on negotiating table.

    They(Taliban) want pre-condintioned talks the same not acceptable to the United States without direction and agreed agenda,resulting in clash and carnage is continied.

    Now negotiations are going to open between two neighbours,Pakistan and Afghanistan.Taliban inclined to participate the discussion on the decade long disputed matters.

    I am sure,there would be two major subject as being expected as according to the political circle and internaionalist experts,Pakistan release Afghan leaders prisioned there.and Afghanistan overcome cross border raids in Pakistan.

    In the early stage, process has begun,it would lead to Mulla Fazlullah who has disappeared in Afghanistan’s remote mountanous,ridges vellays.It is opened that American led Isaf has some doubtful role hiding the most wanted man ,would take action against him. he is not only responsible for major attacks on Pakistan’s territory but also invovled in blood attack on teegager Malalla.

    Terrorist groups,stationed in Afghan remote areas are still busy operating against Pakistan.As example,before couple of days,a man and a woman belonged to same family were injured when a rocket fired from bordering Afghanistan.

    It is highly notable that,State Depart screaming that Pakistan is supporting etremists if ally take back its hand insurgency can be pvercome whithin very shortest possible time I has different stance by saying that drone attacks are curried out with the consent of government and Taliban targets Pakistan teritorry in re action.

    The standpoint appeare from the bothe side is highly confronted and not believeable.

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  • Jat
    Nov 9, 2012 - 9:29PM

    @Zalmai: hmm you have a point. It seems Afghanistan is more of a nation than what Pakistan will ever be. I stand corrected.

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