Talks aimed at kickstarting negotiations for a final peace settlement in Afghanistan have taken place in Pakistan, emphasising the need for a dialogue between the government and the Taliban.
Monday’s meeting – which also included the governments of the US and China – sought to revive the process that collapsed last summer after Afghanistan announced that Mullah Mohammad Omar, founder and leader of the Taliban, had died in a Pakistani hospital more than two years ago. The announcement led the Taliban to pull out of the talks after just one meeting hosted by Islamabad.
The meeting in Islamabad emphasised the immediate need for direct talks between representatives of the Afghanistan government and representatives from Taliban groups in a peace process that aims to preserve Afghanistan’s unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity, said a joint statement released after the discussions.
The Quadrilateral Coordination Group – comprising representatives from Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and the US – is scheduled to meet in Kabul on January 18 “to hold discussions on a roadmap”, the statement added. Meanwhile, a former Taliban senior official said that “military confrontation is not the solution” and that a “political solution” was needed to end the war in Afghanistan.
“The motivation for peace talks was very weak in the past,” Mohammad Hassan Haqyar said. “But now the situation has changed and the Afghan government, America and Pakistan seem to have a readiness for dialogue. “America has realised that a military confrontation is not the solution.”