Former Taliban minister held in Peshawar amid US push for Afghan peace talks

Published: January 15, 2019


PESHAWAR: A senior Taliban leader in the previous Taliban regime in Afghanistan arrested in Peshawar on Monday night.

Hafez Mohibullah was the religious affairs minister in 1992 when the Taliban ran Afghanistan. Sources in the Afghan Taliban confirmed the development.

The move comes just a day before US special representative for Afghan peace Zalmay Khalilzad is arriving in Pakistan on a five-day visit on Tuesday (today) for talks with senior civil and military leaders.

US envoy Khalilzad to visit Pakistan as part of four-nation tour

Diplomatic sources said that during his stay in Islamabad, the US envoy would also hold delegation-level talks at the Foreign Office, regarding the Afghan peace process and negotiations process with the Afghan Taliban and the US army’s withdrawal from Afghanistan.

The sources said that Khalilzad would be accompanied by US Deputy Secretary of State Alice Wells. His visit to Pakistan is part of a larger two weeks tour, which also takes him to China, India and Afghanistan to “facilitate a negotiated settlement to the conflict in Afghanistan”.

The US State Department stated that the envoy continues to coordinate his efforts with President Ashraf Ghani, Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, and other Afghan stakeholders to ensure an intra-Afghan peace process.

Taliban dismiss Afghanistan’s peace talks offer

“The US goal is to promote dialogue among Afghans about how to end the conflict, and to encourage the parties to come together at the negotiating table to reach a political settlement where every Afghan citizen enjoys equal rights and responsibilities under the rule of law.”

During his last trip in December, the US special envoy reiterated that the only solution to the conflict is for all parties to sit together and reach an agreement on the political future of the war-torn country with mutual respect and acceptance.

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