Afghan Taliban delegation to visit Islamabad to review peace talks progress – World

An Afghan Taliban delegation will visit Islamabad to review the progress made so far under the stalled peace talks between the United States and the Taliban, the Foreign Ministry (FO) said in a statement on Wednesday.

The government announcement comes hours after the Taliban said a delegation from the insurgent group will visit Islamabad today, the last stop on a tour of regional powers after the peace process in Afghanistan broke down.

"Pakistan has extended an invitation to the Taliban Political Commission (TPC) in Doha for a visit," the FO statement said.

"The visit would provide an opportunity to review the progress made in the peace talks between the United States and the Taliban so far, and discuss the possibilities of resuming the political solution process in Afghanistan.

"Therefore, a Taliban delegation will visit Islamabad," the press release said, without specifying a date.

According to the FO, arrangements for the meeting of the Taliban delegation with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi are being finalized.

Earlier, Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen said Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, co-founder of the Taliban and head of his political office in Qatar, will head the 11-member delegation during talks on important issues with Pakistani officials in Islamabad.

Doha-based Taliban spokesman Shaheen told AFP that simultaneous visits to Pakistan by US peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and the Taliban were a "coincidence."

But when asked if there was any possibility that the insurgents would meet with Jalilzad, he replied: “Why not? It depends on the Americans. "

The Taliban are still ready to sign the agreement that Khalilzad and Baradar had signed in Doha, he said.

“We have not backed down from the agreement, we defend it. The Americans have backed down and will have to take the initiative. ” The talks were the only way forward, he added.

“There is no military solution for Afghanistan. The Americans did the best they could for 18 years … but they couldn't solve this problem, "Shaheen said.

"It is better to sign the agreement, and then we will have a ceasefire with the Americans, and then intra-Afghan talks will begin immediately" to discuss issues, "including a future government and a ceasefire. So that is the solution to the problem. , ”He told AFP.

On Tuesday, the US special envoy for Afghan reconciliation, Amb Zalmay Khalilzad, also arrived in Islamabad to talk with Pakistani civilian and military leaders about the revival of peace talks with the Afghan Taliban.

An American official who spoke with AP On condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak with the media, he said that Jalilzad is not in Islamabad to resume the peace process.

Rather, the US peace envoy will follow up on the talks he had with Pakistani leaders, including Prime Minister Imran Khan, during the session of the UN General Assembly in New York.

It was not immediately known if Jalilzad will meet with the Taliban leader Baradar. The two men held several individual meetings during the many rounds of negotiations in Qatar, where the Taliban maintain a political office.

Taliban officials in recent days also visited Russia, China and Iran.

The United States and the Taliban said last month they were close to reaching an agreement, despite concerns among some US security officials and within the Afghan government that a withdrawal from the United States could plunge the country into even more conflicts and pave the way for the resurgence of militant factions. President Donald Trump suddenly stopped the talks after the death of an American soldier and 11 other people in a Taliban bomb attack in Kabul.

A Taliban official, who refused to be identified, said Reuters that the delegation will inform the leaders of Pakistan about the factors that derailed the talks with the US. UU. with the aim of reaching an agreement that allows US and foreign troops to withdraw in exchange for Taliban security guarantees.

The Taliban also plan to follow up on recent comments by Prime Minister Imran before a meeting in New York with President Trump, that he will try to convince the president to re-enter talks, the Taliban official added.

Over the past year, the Afghan government was set aside in talks between the United States and the Taliban with the Taliban who refused to negotiate with Kabul officials, as they consider the Afghan government to be a puppet of the United States. Meanwhile, the Taliban attacks have continued endlessly while Afghanistan held presidential elections on Saturday, marred by violence.


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