Taliban delegation visited Pakistan to hold talks on Afghanistan peace process

By: | Published: January 19, 2018 12:31 AM

The Taliban delegation, authorised by the terror group's supreme leader Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada, held talks with a representative of a prominent Afghan politician, the sources said.

Pakistan, Afghanistan, TalibanPakistan Flag (Image Reuters)

A three-member Taliban delegation visited Pakistan on Monday and held talks on prospects for the terror group’s participation in the peace process to end the 16-year war, official sources said as the US piles pressure on Pakistan to crackdown on terror safe havens. The Taliban delegation, authorised by the terror group’s supreme leader Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada, held talks with a representative of a prominent Afghan politician, the sources said. However, Pakistan Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif told Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs that he was not aware of any Taliban delegation visiting Pakistan. The Taliban delegation from Qatar included Shababuddin Dilawar and Jan Mohammad Madani from the Taliban’s political office in Doha as well as the brother-in-law of Mullah Jacoob, son of the late Taliban founder Mullah Mohammad Omar. Afghan side included representatives of Afghan politician Pir Syed Hamid Gilani. Gilani is son of former High Peace Council chief who died last July. He is also chief of the National Islamic Front of Afghanistan. It was a symbolic meeting and showed that Taliban were willing to join the peace process if right atmosphere was created by Taliban government, the sources said.

The Taliban representatives were in Pakistan just days ahead of a visit by acting US Assistant Secretary of State Alice Wells. The talks came close on the heels of a meeting of various Afghan representatives over the weekend in Turkey. Taliban had denied participation in Turkey talks. The Trump administration is mounting pressure on Islamabad to take action against the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network. Early this month, the US froze nearly USD 2 billion in security assistance to Pakistan for not taking any decisive action against terrorists operating from its soil.

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