Photo courtesy: Pakistani government
A Taliban delegation meeting Pakistani foreign minister Mahmood Qureshi in Islamabad
A Taliban delegation led by the Taliban deputy leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar will visit Pakistan and meet Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan and Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in Islamabad, Pakistani press reported today, Wednesday, December 16.
The delegation is expected to arrive in Islamabad on Wednesday. They visit Pakistan on an official invitation by the government of Pakistan.
On October 10, for the first time in 19 years, the Afghan government and the Taliban representatives met face to face in Doha, the Qatari capital to discuss a power sharing deal and end the war in Afghanistan. But this process, known as intra-Afghan talks, faced several setbacks as the two parties got bogged down in setting principle and terms of reference for a substantive talks.
Taliban’s visit to Pakistan follows a trip by the US especial envoy for Afghanistan reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad. On Monday, December 14, Mr. Khalilzad visited Pakistan’s capital Islamabad. He met with Pakistan’s chief of army staff, Gen. Javed Qamar Bajwa, Pakistan’s highest military authority. In a tweet, Khalilzad expressed his concern over delay in Afghan peace process and continuation of violence.
2/3 Tragically, the war continues. The need for a political settlement, reduction in violence, and a ceasefire remain urgent.
— U.S. Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad (@US4AfghanPeace) December 14, 2020
Last month, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan visited Kabul and met his Afghan counterpart Ashraf Ghani. Khan vowed that Pakistan will do everything within its reach for Afghan peace talks.
The government led peace delegation and Taliban negotiators have agreed on principle and terms of reference (TOR) for talks. The two parties have taken a 20-day break to consult their principals and agendas for a substantive talks. The government-led peace delegation have come home to discuss details of TOR with Afghan leadership.