Top Afghan negotiator arrives in Pakistan for Taliban talks

A senior Afghan official arrived in the Pakistani capital on Monday on a three-day visit to hold talks with the Taliban, during which he will meet with the country's prime minister and other government officials.

 

Top Afghan negotiator arrives in Pakistan for Taliban talks

Senior government officials on his arrival in Islamabad received Abdullah, the leader of Afghan Reconciliation for National Reconciliation. In addition to meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan, the Afghan reconciliation leader will also meet with President Arif Ali, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and other officials.

 

The council represents the Afghan government in the historic peace talks with the Taliban, which begin in Qatar on September 12. The talks represent the most serious effort since the 2001 US-led invasion of Afghanistan. The government, which was then hosting al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, had planned the September 11 attacks.

 

The Afghan-Taliban talks came after an agreement was reached’ between the US and the Taliban in February. It aims to allow the Americans to withdraw from Afghanistan and end the longest military engagement in US history.

 

Many Taliban leaders have lived in Pakistan since the 1980s. In those years, he was part of the Afghan Mujahideen, an ally of the American Mujahideen, to end the 10-year occupation of the country by the Soviet Union.

 

The Taliban have refused to sanctify Taliban members since their ouster in 2001. However, both Washington and Kabul routinely accuse Islamabad of providing a safe haven for the Taliban, citing its longstanding ties to Pakistan's powerful Inter-Services Intelligence Agency.

 

Khan has publicly said that his government has facilitated talks. "Now it's up to Afghans," he said.

 

"Abdullah's visit will provide an opportunity for a broader exchange of views on the Afghan peace process and Pak-Afghan bilateral relations and people-to-people contacts," the Pakistani foreign ministry said in a statement. "For the peace, stability and prosperity of the Afghan people."


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