Afghan Taliban – US Government Meeting Brokered by Pakistan Successful?

The meeting between the United States and Afghan Taliban which was brokered by Pakistan and held in the United Arab Emirates on Monday was successful to end the decades-old conflict in Afghanistan. As EurAsian Times reported, the meeting was attended by the representatives from the US, Afghan Taliban, Pakistan, UAE and Saudi Arabia.

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According to Pakistan Media outlet, Tribune, Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal said Pakistan is committed to peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan along with international community and other stakeholders. “We hope this will end the bloodshed in Afghanistan and bring peace to the region,” he wrote on Twitter. Afghanistan and the US also welcomed the talks hoping this may lead to a political solution to the Afghan problem.

The Afghan Taliban spokesperson confirmed their participation in the talks but emphasised that they would not talk to the Afghan government. The direct talks between the US and the Taliban after President Trump wrote a letter to  Imran Khan, seeking his assistance in bringing the Taliban to the negotiating table.

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This was the second time Pakistan arranged direct talks between US and Taliban. In 2016, Pakistan brokered the first-ever face to face talks between the Taliban and the US and Afghan government representatives in Murree. Then peace process could not move forward after news of the death of Taliban leader Mullah Omar was leaked to the media by some Afghan official. Pakistan blamed components within Afghanistan for destroying the peace process.

The US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad had met twice with the Taliban representatives in Doha. The US believes that Pakistan still holds considerable sway over the Taliban and hence it can play a crucial role in brokering a deal. The Trump administration is aiming to strike a deal with the Taliban by April next year or before the Afghan presidential elections. The Taliban, who control over 60 per cent of the Afghan territory, want the US forces to leave Afghanistan.

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