Second round of Pakistan-brokered peace talks postponed amid reports of Mullah Omar's death

Published: July 30, 2015
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PHOTO: AFP

PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: The second round of crucial talks between the Afghan government and Taliban representatives has been postponed following reports of the death of Taliban supremo Mullah Omar, the Foreign Office announced on Thursday.

“In view of the reports regarding the death of Mullah Omar and the resulting uncertainty, and at the request of the Afghan Taliban leadership, the second round of the Afghan peace talks, which was scheduled to be held in Pakistan on July 31, is being postponed,” Qazi Khalilluah said in a statement.

Khalilullah said Pakistan and other friendly countries of Afghanistan hoped that the Taliban leadership will stay engaged in the process of peace talks in order to promote a lasting peace in Afghanistan.

“It is further hoped that those forces, which due to their malafide intent wanted to undermine the peace talks, will not succeed in their designs,” he added.

Earlier, senior Afghan Taliban leaders arrived in Islamabad to take part in the second round of Pakistan-brokered peace talks, two Taliban sources told The Express Tribune.

“A six-member delegation arrived in Islamabad late Wednesday to attend the next round,” a Taliban official said. However, officials of the Kabul government are yet to arrive.

The second round of talks was scheduled to be held on July 31 in Pakistan. However, uncertainty clouded the fate of the talks following reports that the Afghan Taliban supreme leader Mullah Omar was dead.

Read: Afghan Taliban say ‘unaware’ of peace talks, no comment on Mullah Omar

An Afghan government delegation was expected to arrive in Pakistan later today, Afghan sources said.

The delegation does not include those who attended the first round, according to the names provided to the correspondent.

Further, Afghan media reports quoted unmanned officials as saying a meeting is underway in the Foreign Ministry to decide a composition of the delegation.

Head of the Afghan government team, Haji Deen Muhammad, told The Express Tribune that no major change is expected in the team that took part in the first round; however, he did not ruleout  inclusion of a woman in the team.

Read: Taliban leader Mullah Omar died in a Karachi hospital in 2013, says Afghanistan

In Islamabad the Foreign Ministry said on Thursday Pakistan will facilitate the second round of talks between the Afghan government and Afghan Taliban. However, Foreign Office Spokesperson Qazi Khalilullah did not say when the second round will take place.

“Let me reiterate that as far as Pakistan is concerned, we are committed to supporting and facilitating an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process.”

“Pakistan has been facilitating an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan. Efforts are being made for facilitating the second round of peace talks between the Afghan Taliban and Afghan government. However, I do not have details in this regard as of now,” he added.

Earlier today, the Taliban rejected reports of any fresh round of peace talks expected this week with the Afghan government, while making no comment on Kabul’s reported death of their leader Mullah Omar.

A statement from the Taliban leadership council says only the Qatar office is allowed to pursue political affairs.

Read: White house Endorsement: Report of Mullah Omar death ‘credible’

“Media outlets are circulating reports that peace talks will take place very soon… either in the country of China or Pakistan,” the Taliban said in an English-language statement posted on their website.

“(Our) political office… are not aware of any such process.”

The statement marked the first comment from the group waging an almost 14-year insurgency in Afghanistan since Kabul on Wednesday reported that Mullah Omar died two years ago in Pakistan, citing “credible information”.

The insurgents have not officially confirmed the death of their spiritual leader, who has not been seen publicly since the 2001 US-led invasion of Afghanistan that toppled the Taliban government in Kabul.

Read: Mullah Omar: Taliban’s mysterious one-eyed supremo

Rumours of Omar’s ill-health and even death have regularly surfaced in the past, but Wednesday’s claims from Kabul marked the first such confirmation from the Afghan government.

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Reader Comments (14)

  • Liberal
    Jul 30, 2015 - 4:55PM

    Reports about Mullah Omar’s death were leaked by Indian-support Afghan intelligence in order to derail peace talks and they have achieved their objective. Recommend

  • Cynic Waheed
    Jul 30, 2015 - 5:19PM

    India succeeds in postponement of these talks! India will do everything in her power to sabotage these talks as it completely ignores India and takes only China and US into account. By getting their pets in Afghan Spy agency to announce Omars death, they have managed to t put a spanner into these talks…for now! But Indians are Indians, eventually they wont succeed. If Omar has been dead for 3 years and Taliban have still been functioning, then this announcement of his death shouldnt have any longer term consequences for these talks. For the time being though, India can chest thump a victory, but the last laugh will be ours!

    Stay Put Indians – We are coming closer to dealing with you. No blow up something and blame on Pakistan – Typical Indian mindset wont achieve anything. Grapes in Afghanistan are sour or you! :)

    needless to say this is how much India cares about peace in the region and Afghanistan!

    Sincerely,

    A Pakistani.Recommend

  • Pragmatist Indian
    Jul 30, 2015 - 6:10PM

    What was all the “talks” drama about all this time? Did Pakistan seriously not know that the Taliban leader was dead? What kind of influence would they have if they didn’t even know this much? Another charade by the puppeteers.Recommend

  • Ashraf
    Jul 30, 2015 - 6:12PM

    @Cynic Waheed: Are you saying India killed Mullah Omar? Recommend

  • Faraz
    Jul 30, 2015 - 6:40PM

    @Liberal & @Cynic Waheed

    I think the word you guys are looking for is Burnol… You can directly ask for it…Recommend

  • Cynic Waheed
    Jul 30, 2015 - 6:42PM

    @Ashraf: Re-reaead my comments again, it might sink in and you might see what I am saying..

    @Pragmatist Indian: Did Afghanis seriously didnt knowhe was dead? why bring it out now? Only to put Pak on the backfoot but instead they shooting themselves in the foot! Dialouge is the only way forwards for Afghans, the sooner they engage the better! Unless they want to keep finght in prepetuity!Recommend

  • Usman
    Jul 30, 2015 - 7:09PM

    Indian desperation in overdrive, leaking news of Mullah Omar’s death via its pawns in Afghan Intelligence to sabotage any chance of peace in Afghanistan.Recommend

  • Liberal
    Jul 30, 2015 - 9:02PM

    @Faraz:
    yeah bro, give me Burnol so i can send it to my eastern neighbor.

    @Pragmatist Indian: Don’t tell me that you don’t know the close ties between RAW and NDS. The timing of the leakage of info about Mullah Omar’s death has clearly revealed the mindset which had been trying since the beginning to derail Afghan peace process. Recommend

  • Babloo
    Jul 31, 2015 - 12:37AM

    So is this all pakistani drama and cheap theatre ?

    “A statement from the Taliban leadership council says only the Qatar office is allowed to pursue political affairs.

    “Media outlets are circulating reports that peace talks will take place very soon… either in the country of China or Pakistan,” the Taliban said in an English-language statement posted on their website.

    “(Our) political office… are not aware of any such process.”Recommend

  • nk
    Jul 31, 2015 - 1:12AM

    India will do whatever is in its power to derail any move forward in afghanistan that doesn’t involve it. But this is only a temporary setback for pakistan. India has recently been exposing its frustration to an international audience, because for the first time pakistan is playing its cards right by pretty much ignoring the indians, or by playing the good neighbour while we fix our internal issues.

    I hope our leadership, both civil and military, keeps up this attitude. nawaz keeps making overtures to india to show we are not the enemy. At the same time the military keeps fighting internal terrorism and brokers these peace talks. Both combined just take deep breaths and not get frustrated by indian aggression and soon we will have enough frustrated speeches by indian politicians on sponsoring terrorist and indias role in it to be able to take them to the UN.

    kudos both sharifs. Recommend

  • N
    Jul 31, 2015 - 3:18AM

    Soon VALDEZ IS COMMING Recommend

  • Pragmatist Indian
    Jul 31, 2015 - 5:49AM

    @Cynic, there was nothing to derail in the first place. These “talks” were just a sham. The Afghan Taliban confirmed yesterday that they were not involved in any talks. There was just one side that was involved in skulduggery and they have a history of this.Recommend

  • Milind
    Jul 31, 2015 - 9:50AM

    @Liberal – As usual Pakistan cheated in the talks by withholding information of Mullah Omar’s death. When the Afghans found out, blame IndiaRecommend

  • Raj - USA
    Jul 31, 2015 - 10:45AM

    What exactly are Afghan peace talks. It is nothing but Pakistan trying to install talibans in power. China is backing it (could be doing it rather reluctantly).

    India will do all it can to see that no taliban factions are in power. Afghans also want the same. Only stupids will support uneducated and indoctrinated talibans to gain power in Afghanistan. All talibans are the same though they may fight each other. If Pakistan is wise, they should know that in the end, no taliban will support Pakistan and they will attack Pakistan. If Pakistan takes the stand that it shall not support talibans of any faction, I am sure, India will do the same and China and USA will also do the same. Pakistan will earn goodwill from Afghans.Recommend

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