KARACHI: The administration of President Ashraf Ghani has expressed its willingness to resuscitate a moribund quartet which was formed to work out a negotiated end to the spiral of deadly violence in Afghanistan.
The Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG), which is made up of Pakistan, Afghanistan, China and the United States, has been dormant since Afghan Taliban supremo Mullah Akhtar Mansoor was killed in a US drone strike in May 2016.
“However, now Kabul has indicated that it is willing to revive the quadrilateral for revival of peace talks,” a source told Daily Express. Friday’s statement of President Ghani further shows willingness on the part of Kabul to re-engage with Islamabad.
“We are ready for comprehensive political talks. Peace with Pakistan is in our national agenda,” he said while addressing political elite and journalists at the Presidential Palace.
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Sources say the change in the policy of President Ghani, who had refused to engage with Pakistan after an upsurge in Taliban violence in his country, has the full backing of the Trump administration.
Sources believe Ghani’s statement would be followed by a formal meeting of the QCG to find out how to bring the Taliban back to the negotiating table.
The roller coaster bilateral ties between the two countries hit a bad patch after the Ghani administration blamed Islamabad for the uptick in Taliban violence in his country. Deadly skirmishes between the border guards of the two countries added fuel to the fire.
According to sources, Pakistan has been telling Kabul and other stakeholders all along that peace in Afghanistan is not possible through the use of military force. And the QCG should be revived to find a political solution to the problem.
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The key to success of peace process is with Pakistan as it can help convince the Taliban to resume dialogue.
Afghan government, insiders said, has requested Pakistan to help resume the peace process, and the two countries will soon organise a meeting after consulting other stakeholders, which can also include Russia.
Meanwhile, sources added, the coordination group may have a collective dialogue with all Taliban groups rather than separate talks with different factions.
The policy of backdoor diplomacy will be adopted to convince the Taliban for talks, and the first priority will be establishing a ceasefire in the war-torn Afghanistan. However, sources said, Islamabad will be a part of the process once the Afghan government assures and takes action against elements directly or indirectly involved in waging terror in Pakistan.
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