Afghan peace process: Gen Raheel, Gen Nicholson review talks resumption

New American commander in Afghanistan appreciates Zarb-e-Azb successes.

Our Correspondent March 22, 2016
General John Nicholson, Commander Resolute Support Mission and US Forces in Afghanistan called on Army Chief General Raheel Sharif. PHOTO: INP

ISLAMABAD: Army Chief General Raheel Sharif and the top US general stationed in Afghanistan on Monday discussed efforts seeking the resumption of the stalled Afghan peace talks.

The meeting between the army chief and newly appointed Nato commander of the Resolute Support Mission and United States forces in Afghanistan General John Nicholson was held at the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi.

This was Gen Nicholson’s first visit to Pakistan since he took over as commander of US forces in the war-torn country earlier in March.

A statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said the two discussed matters of mutual interest and regional security with particular emphasis on coordination along Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

The Afghan reconciliation process also came under discussion, the military’s media wing said.

The US General appreciated successes of Operation Zarb-e-Azb and Pakistan’s efforts for regional security.

Efforts to bring Afghan Taliban to the negotiating table appear to have suffered a setback after the insurgent group refused to hold direct talks with the Afghan government. However, contacts were continuing with the Taliban to persuade the insurgent group to soften its stance on negotiations.

Last month’s Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) meeting in Kabul had invited Taliban groups to join direct talks with the Afghan government by the first week of the current month while Islamabad had accepted the offer to host the unprecedented meeting.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 22nd, 2016.


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