US-Pakistan Support Intra-Afghan Dialogue Between Taliban and Afghan Government

Both the US and Pakistan have backed the idea of Intra-Afghan Dialogue between the Taliban and the Afghan Government to end to the ongoing Afghan crisis. Both the sides have put immense pressure on the Taliban to negotiate with the Afghan Government and end the war.

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“Both sides agreed that the intra-Afghan dialogue would be vital to agree upon the contours of a future Afghan polity where Afghanistan becomes a stable and prosperous country at peace with its neighbours,” said an official statement after US Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad held talks with Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua and Pakistan army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa.

Khalilzad, who was accompanied by an interagency delegation constituting departments of defence, state, and the National Security Council, is visiting Islamabad as part of his tour to the regional countries for the Afghan peace talks.

He has already visited China and Afghanistan. His visit to Islamabad is aimed at reviewing efforts for bringing the Taliban to the negotiating table. Last month, Khalilzad held talks with the Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Taliban representatives in Abu Dhabi.

The second round scheduled to take place in Jeddah but the Taliban pulled out of the talks over a disagreement on the inclusion of the Afghan government in the peace process. The Taliban have so far refused to talk to the Afghan government directly, insisting they would only speak to the US.

But Pakistan, as well as Saudi Arabia and UAE, have been putting pressure on the Taliban to reconsider their decision. Just ahead of the Khalilzad’s visit, Pakistani authorities shortly detained Hafiz Mohibullah, a senior Taliban commander, in what was seen as efforts to persuade the insurgents to talk to Kabul.

Several reports claimed Pakistan is pushing for a meeting between the Afghan, Taliban and the US special envoy in Islamabad. However, Foreign Office did not confirm if any such effort was made.

Ambassador Khalilzad lauded Pakistan’s efforts in facilitating direct talks between the Taliban and the US in Abu Dhabi last month, said an official handout. Khalilzad briefed the Pakistan side on his recent engagements in the region.

The foreign secretary emphasized Pakistan’s commitment to facilitate Afghan restoration through peace and stability. He also added that the Afghan peace process will always remain shared responsibility.

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