Delegation in Pakistan to discuss refugees, release of prisoners: Afghan Taliban

Published: April 27, 2016
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Taliban Qatar office confirms team's visit but does not say whether leaders will discuss peace process. PHOTO: AFP

Taliban Qatar office confirms team's visit but does not say whether leaders will discuss peace process. PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: Afghan Taliban on Wednesday confirmed a delegation is currently visiting Pakistan but said they are only discussing issues pertaining to refugees, the release of a senior leader and other prisoners.

Diplomatic sources had earlier told The Express Tribune that a three-member delegation from the Afghan Taliban’s political office in Qatar arrived in Islamabad on Monday to discuss the restarting of peace talks with Kabul.

Will no longer seek Pakistan’s help in peace talks: Afghan president

Taliban’s Qatar office confirmed the visit; however, it did not say whether the leaders will discuss the peace process during their visit. “Since the Afghan people have close relations, long border and commercial transactions with neighbouring Pakistan and a large number of our countrymen are living there as refugees, therefore, the Political Office of the Islamic Emirate has decided to send a high level delegation to Islamabad,” the Taliban Qatar office said.

“The esteemed leader of Islamic Emirate has instructed the delegation to discuss issues regarding Afghan refugees, some problems about frontier areas and particularly to discuss the release of Mullah Bradar Akhund and some other prisoners,” it added.

Mullah Baradar, the former second-in-command in the Taliban hierarchy, was arrested in Karachi in 2010. The Taliban claim he is still in custody, however, Pakistan in 2013 said he had been released along with 50 other senior Taliban leaders on the request of then Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

A Taliban statement said the visit to Pakistan “would be in the interest of both countries and would have fruitful results.”

Taliban delegation arrives in Islamabad to discuss Afghan reconciliation process

Afghan officials in Kabul had also stated they were aware of the visit but that no meeting with the Taliban delegation in Pakistan has been planned.

Some Pakistani officials had earlier stated that a meeting between the Taliban and the representatives of the Afghan government was scheduled in Islamabad on April 27; however, Afghan diplomatic sources said, “Kabul is not in the loop about the visit.”

Direct peace talks between Kabul and the Afghan Taliban began in Pakistan in July 2015 but were scrapped after the belated revelation that Mullah Omar, the group’s founder, had died two years earlier.

The disclosure sparked infighting within the militant group.

A four-member group comprising Afghanistan, the United States, China and Pakistan has been attempting since January to revive the talks. But the lack of progress has left many frustrated, as the Taliban ramp up their insurgency which began in 2001 after they were deposed from power by a US-led invasion.

Ghani angrily denounced Pakistan for failing to rein in the Taliban.

Islamabad recently admitted, after years of official denial, that the Taliban leadership enjoys safe haven inside Pakistan.

“I want to make it clear that we no longer expect Pakistan to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table,” Ghani said in a sombre address to both houses of the Afghan parliament.

Pakistan rubbishes Ghani’s allegations of sheltering terrorists

“But we want Pakistan to fulfil its promises… and take military action against their sanctuaries and leadership based on its soil. If they can’t target them they should hand them over to our judiciary.”

The Taliban have repeatedly said they will not negotiate until their demands are met, including the departure of 13,000 foreign soldiers deployed to train and advise their Afghan counterparts.

The April 19 bombing in Kabul, which also wounded nearly 350 people, was seen as the opening salvo in this year’s Taliban offensive — widely expected to be the bloodiest in 15 years.

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Reader Comments (11)

  • Apr 27, 2016 - 10:36AM

    I think only Pakistan can play role in afghan peaceRecommend

  • Hakim Afghan
    Apr 27, 2016 - 10:47AM

    Really? Came to meet Pakistani leaders or Slaves came to meet his masters ?

    Everybody knows you are a slave and working as a proxy, you are nothing more than a slave meeting your masters in Islamabad!Recommend

  • Iqbal Bhai
    Apr 27, 2016 - 10:50AM

    Original title: Slaves meeting his masters.

    Corrected!Recommend

  • goldconsumer
    Apr 27, 2016 - 2:38PM

    A parallel system of government exists in Afghanistan. Pakistan seems to be sending this message via the Taliban very successfully.. Recommend

  • Pashtun
    Apr 27, 2016 - 4:25PM

    @ hakim afghan you allowed foreigners to invade your country just for the sake of some dollars. your country was free and full of justice due to these blessed people but you sold your own soil to those infidels. your history is full of such betrayals towards your own people. how you can call them slaves who are fighting for reinstating the afghan pride and showing this to the world that they are not made to bow in front of infidels. in fact you are the slaves who love dollars more than the integrity and Religion. how you can allow infidels occupying your country and giving you orders ? and no one can prove this that Taliban take orders from Pakistan or any one. Taliban have the help of Allah S.W.T that they were able to defeat NATO and now near to dethrone this imported puppet kabul regime and in my opinion Taliban are a better option for Pakistan because they are at least bound to pakistanis by Religious relations while all other imported regimes in kabul are only the puppets of india and the slaves of dollars. you are the ones who obey orders of america and india so you are the slaves not them. they are the pride for all those muslims who bow only in front of Allah S.W.T Recommend

  • UJ
    Apr 27, 2016 - 4:47PM

    Those who have bombed our mosques, temples, markets and parks are allowed to come to Pakistan to discuss peace. WOW! this can only happen in Pakistan and with Pakistanis where foreigners invade through drone to rip off foreign terrorists (Afghani Taliban).Recommend

  • Mr Obvious
    Apr 27, 2016 - 8:03PM

    Afghan pulled the plug on Pakistan Taliban peace negotiations and your scrambling to try and make the Afghan Taliban meeting look meaningful. Good luck with that.Recommend

  • quatro
    Apr 27, 2016 - 8:46PM

    @Pashtun: Implying that Afghanistan is being controlled by infidel invaders is as pathetic as your comment saying that the Taliban defeated NATO.
    .
    Afghanistan is controlled by a govt which was elected by the people of Afghanistan not your so-called infidels. The Afghan people turned out in record numbers to elect that govt – defying the ban on voting imposed by the Taliban.
    .
    Your friends the Taliban were removed from control in about a month of combat with the USA – they retreated inside Pakistan for sanctuary. Their leader Omar died inside Pakistan – so did OBL who is arguably the cause of millions of deaths Worldwide. After 14 years of conflict the Taliban still have zero chance of retaking Kabul and can’t maintain sustained control of any portion of Afghanistan. Not much of a record for a Taliban army which you say defeated NATO. BTW – did you know that USA combat fatalities in the Afghan conflict were lower than the historical norms for “death by suicide”? Recommend

  • Tariq Shah
    Apr 28, 2016 - 1:26AM

    When will Pakistani leaders find their tongues and lash out at Afghanistan and tell them that it is Afghanistan from where terrorism is entering Pakistan and not the other way around.

    When will Pakistani leaders find the courage to speak up directly to Afghan leaders and tell them to wake up and take responsibility of their own people, the Taliban are Afghans, not Pakistanis, they are not robots that Pakistan controls, that Pakistan should step back from any further involvement with these ridiculous Afghans and tell them to put their own house in order and have nothing to do with them.

    Push out the Afghan refugees into Afghansitan and seal the border, enough of this nonsense from Afghan leaders.

    Say something you foolish Pakistani officials, say something bold for once, what has happened to you that you are so afraid to speak?

    I am sick and tired of hearing foolish Afghan leaders blame Pakistan non stop day and night….

    ENOUGH ENOUGH ENOUGH!!!!!Recommend

  • Tariq Shah
    Apr 28, 2016 - 1:28AM

    @Hakim Afghan:
    and you are slaves of USA, Russia, India, Iran and Saudis and Pakistan, yes you are slaves of the DOLLAR…show some pride and go back to your country and take millions of your people with you and never come back…but i bet you and your Afghan friends and family have houses and business in Pakistan…. be quiet and make me some kababs.Recommend

  • FAZ
    Apr 28, 2016 - 9:25AM

    @quatro:
    Which news channels do you watch? Get a reality check. Or wait for it a few more years.Recommend

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