Published: Sun, January 20, 2019
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

United States tells Taliban it must talk to Afghan government

United States tells Taliban it must talk to Afghan government

US President Donald Trump's Special Envoy on Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad arrived in Pakistan on Thursday to discuss with the senior civil and military leadership the latest efforts to bring peace to the war-torn country.

Earlier on Thursday, Ghani called Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan, and while details were sketchy, a press statement from Khan's office said the discussion centered on finding a peaceful end to the protracted war in Afghanistan.

Pakistan's recent efforts to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table have been recognised by the USA and Afghanistan.

Hafiz Mohibullah, a senior military commander who has been closely involved in talks with the United States, was arrested in Peshawar, close to the border with Afghanistan, at the weekend but was subsequently released.

The second round was supposed to take place in Jeddah but Taliban pulled out of the talks over disagreement on the inclusion of Afghan government in the peace process.

Pakistan is believed to be making serious efforts to arrange a meeting between Khalilzad and Afghan Taliban leaders in Islamabad to help break the deadlock and speed up the Afghan peace process, Dawn reported.

Pakistani officials say they will not lose hope and continue wooing the Taliban.

His visit - the fifth in the last few months - was reportedly delayed twice in order to allow Taliban leaders to consult with each other over the proposed meeting with the top US negotiator.

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The Taliban have so far refused to talk to the Afghan government directly, insisting they would only speak to the US.

"Taking the Afghan peace process forward remains a shared responsibility", she contented.

"But simultaneously Taliban can not afford to completely displease Islamabad and more raids and arrests".

"If the Taliban want to talk, we can talk".

Complete disarmament of two "The National Islamic Movement of Afghanistan" and "The Islamic Population of Afghanistan" is among the main conditions set by the Taliban for talks with Kabul, according to reports.

Since then, several attempts to resume the stalled peace process have been made by a four-nation group comprised of Pakistan, Afghanistan, the US and China.

President Ghani expressed his gratitude for Pakistan's honest facilitation of these efforts, initiated by the US Special Representative for Peace and Reconciliation in Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad. He is expected next in Pakistan.

The US is not the only country dancing around talks with the militants.

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