Pakistan, Afghanistan, China and the United States have called on all Afghan Taliban groups to start talks with Kabul to find a political solution to the long-running conflict in the war-torn country.
On Monday, officials from the four countries, which are part of the quadrilateral coordination group (QCD), met in Kabul to discuss a roadmap for reviving the stalled peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban.
Building on the outcome of the first meeting in Islamabad, the group discussed and made progress on a roadmap towards initiating peace talks with Taliban groups that reflects the shared commitment of the coordination group member countries, said a joint statement issued in Islamabad.
The roadmap, it said, aims to set specific measures that are necessary for creating a conducive environment for the commencement of Afghan led and Afghan owned peace talks.
“To this end, the QCG called on all Taliban groups to enter into early talks with the Afghan government to resolve all differences politically in accordance with the will and aspirations of the entire Afghan nation and the desire and support of the QCG member countries for lasting peace in Afghanistan,” the statement read.
The participants of the Kabul huddle once again emphasised the need for an end to what they called senseless violence against the Afghan people. The four countries agreed all forms of terrorism presented a grave threat to the region and the world.
The members also indicated their commitment to a robust effort to eliminate all forms of terrorist groups, regardless of their national origin, operating in their respective territories.
The QCG agreed that friendly, mutually respectful and cooperative relations among the member states are necessary to create an enabling environment for restarting the peace process in Afghanistan. This will help ensure the security, stability, prosperity and interests of the region.
They also agreed to continue regular meetings to advance the peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan.
The meeting was attended by Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Khalil Karzai, Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry, US Ambassador to Afghanistan Michael McKinley and China’s Special Envoy for Afghanistan Deng Xijun. The group will hold its next meeting on February 6 in Islamabad.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 19th, 2016.