Pakistan to include Taliban in peace talks
In an interview with a British television channel, Sharif said
that he wants to include the Taliban in the peace council, adding
that Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan had been tasked
with opening dialogue with the Islamist organization, reported
the Daily Times.
“We are serious in our efforts to hold dialogue with the
Taliban,” stressed Sharif, saying talks with the group were a
necessary step to bring peace to the whole region. Furthermore,
Sharif underlined he fully supported Afghanistan in its quest for
peace and offered technical assistance in next year’s elections.
Minister Sharif is in London for peace talks with Afghan
President Hamid Kharzai and UK Prime Minister David Cameron. All
three parties confirmed their commitment to the ongoing peace
process ahead of the final withdrawal of US-led NATO forces from
Afghanistan in December 2014.
Moreover, Afghanistan said they had reached a breakthrough with
Pakistan and would send a delegation to speak with the Taliban
second-in-command, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar. One of the main
aims of the negotiations for the Afghan side was to discern the
whereabouts of Taliban commander Mullah Mohammad Omar’s
right-hand-man who was released from a Pakistani prison last
The Afghan government believes he is a key figure in establishing
dialogue with the militant group.
"The leaders of the three countries spoke about Pakistan's
role in the peace process and it was agreed that the High Peace
Council delegation would travel to Pakistan in the near future to
meet Mullah Baradar," the Afghan presidential palace said in
a statement. Baradar remains under close supervision by Pakistani
In the run-up to negotiations, the Afghan government said they
also wanted Pakistan to play a role in preventing terrorists from
crossing the border into Afghanistan.
"Pakistan can play a role to maintain Afghanistan security for
upcoming elections because these terrorists are coming from the
other side of the Durrand Line (border) to Afghanistan,"
Karzai's spokesman, Aimal Faizi told AFP.
The Karzai government has voiced concerns in the past that
Taliban militants use areas close to the Afghan-Pakistan border
as safe havens from which to launch attacks. Islamabad
categorically denies that it harbors terrorists on its territory.
Tensions have been running high in Afghanistan as militant
attacks continue unchecked ahead of next year’s scheduled pull
out. President Karzai is attempting to establish a deal with the
Taliban before the withdrawal of some 87,000 NATO forces in
December of next year.
With alliance forces gone, security responsibilities will be left
to Afghan forces whose limited resources and training may see
them hard-pressed to maintain control of the country.