Taliban, Afghan government talk 'peace' in Islamabad

Published: July 7, 2015
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File photo of Hikmat Khalil Karzai.

File photo of Hikmat Khalil Karzai.

ISLAMABAD: Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Khalil Karzai arrived in Islamabad on Tuesday on an unannounced visit for talks with Afghan Taliban, sources told The Express Tribune.

“I can confirm that the Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Karzai is in Islamabad,” a source privy to the development said. The minister is accompanied by former governor of Nangarhar Haji Deen Muhammad and other officials.

The Express Tribune has learnt the Afghan deputy foreign minister is leading a nine-member team for ‘talks with the Afghan Taliban.’

The Afghan Presidential Palace in Kabul confirmed that a four-member delegation of the High Peace Council is visiting Islamabad for talks with the Taliban.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Zafar Hashmi told the media in Kabul that three Taliban leaders are taking part in the talks. He did not disclose the names.

Read: Afghan Taliban uphold Qatar office’s authority amid peace talks

However, Afghan Taliban spokesperson denied having any knowledge of the talks in Islamabad.

“I do not have any information and will share if there is any,” Zabihullah Mujahid told The Express Tribune.

A diplomatic source said Hekmat Karzai-led delegation ‘continued consultations’ for a second day on Tuesday and the formal talks with Taliban leaders could start on Wednesday.”

A security official refused to comment on the talks. “Please wait for a day or two,” he said.

The Islamabad talks are thought to be the follow up of the peace talks held in the Chinese city of Urumqi in May.

Read: IS in Afghanistan on Xi, Putin’s summit agenda: China

Foreign Affairs adviser Sartaj Aziz had recently confirmed to a parliamentary committee that Pakistan had facilitated Taliban-Kabul talks in Urumqi. He had also stated that a second meeting would be held soon.

The Taliban Qatar office had disassociated itself from the Urumqi talks and it is not yet clear if the Qatar office is involved in the Islamabad talks.

Read: Afghan Taliban feign ignorance over Sartaj Aziz’s peace talks claim

Some sources say that a senior leader from the Qatar office Sher Abbas Stanekzai and Qari Deen Muhammad are a part of the discussions. The two are believed to have previously been involved in the talks in China and Islamabad. However, Taliban and Pakistani officials have not confirmed names of the Taliban participants.

Three senior Taliban leaders Mullah Jalil, Mullah Hasan and Abdul Razaq had reportedly attended the previous meeting in Urumqi.

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Reader Comments (9)

  • Fahim
    Jul 7, 2015 - 1:58PM

    Now if it would be in Delhi, our beloved would be rofling about it. Recommend

  • Jul 7, 2015 - 5:32PM

    a good initiative. after 10yrs of fight even nato couldn’t beat the insurgency in afghanistan. we, pakistan, with a strong army can’t control this wave of terror. it is unlikely that afghanistan with its fractured political and military system, can defeat insurgency. so it is a pragmatic approach to bring as much insurgent elements to the system as possible. surely not all will come. but even if a large portion comes to the established system, then that can be considered as a great success. Recommend

  • Naveed Alam Khattak
    Jul 7, 2015 - 6:09PM

    We will pray for the success of those peace talks. We Pakistanis and mostly Pashtons are badly affected by this War. We are suffering and this war has destroyed our whole society.Recommend

  • cautious
    Jul 7, 2015 - 6:55PM

    Why should anyone believe Pakistan? For over a year you have stated that you have been attacking the Afghan Taliban inside Pakistan – and if that is actually happening then your relationship with the Afghan Taliban must be terrible – if you haven’t been attacking the Afghan Taliban then your just a liar and there is no reason to believe anything you say. Both the American’s and Afghan’s believe you haven’t been attacking the Afghan Taliban.Recommend

  • Cynic Waheed
    Jul 7, 2015 - 8:56PM

    Please get to some conclusion on these talks before India attempts to torpedo it again!

    Sincerely,

    A Pakistani.Recommend

  • Parvez
    Jul 7, 2015 - 10:53PM

    Time to unite to fight the new common enemy………ISIS.Recommend

  • Afzal
    Jul 7, 2015 - 11:50PM

    @cautious:
    We do not do things appeasement. Who cares whether you believe us or not, we do not have time for you. We are still way back as liars as compared to you guys. When we say we have been attacking Taleban in Pakistan that largely means Pakistani Taleban, Afghan Taleban only if they are carrying out attacks from Pakistan. You should forget if you are waiting to see Pakistan killing Afghan refugee Talebn…..we are smarter than you, we are going to be careful in our actions against Taleban making sure we do not do any thing that would risk loosing them to waiting Indians. President Ghani, despite Indian lobby working against him, knows what Pakistan is doing. There are no good or bad Taleban except the Afghan Taleban have to be dealt with a stretagy and room for bringing them to negotiations with the Afghan government. You are jealous of peace talks taking place in Islamabad, you rather see Pakistan and Afghanistan at each others throat. Recommend

  • Muhammad
    Jul 9, 2015 - 3:47AM

    @cautious:
    Yes, the Afghan government, Taleban, the U.S. as well as Chinese understand the significance of Pakistan and despite the fact that in this region no one seems to trust the other, confidence in Pakistan is gaining momentum. The state department spokesman has thanked Pakistan for its role. Do you watch CNN..?Recommend

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