Sunday 25 September 2016

Pakistan to host four-nation meeting on ending Afghan war

Published 09/01/2016 | 12:46

The Taliban has been battling the US-backed government in Afghanistan for nearly 15 years and has recently stepped up attacks
The Taliban has been battling the US-backed government in Afghanistan for nearly 15 years and has recently stepped up attacks

Afghan officials are told hold talks with the US, China and Pakistan on reviving negotiations to end the Afghanistan war.

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Afghan foreign ministry spokesman Ahmad Shekib Mostaghni said representatives will meet on Monday in Pakistan's capital to discuss a "road map for peace talks".

Kabul's delegation will be led by deputy foreign minister Hekmat Karzai.

The talks in Islamabad were agreed on during a visit to Kabul last month by Pakistan's army chief General Raheel Sharif.

The talks do not include the Taliban, which has been battling the US-backed government for nearly 15 years and has recently stepped up attacks.

Pakistan hosted a meeting of Kabul officials and Taliban representatives last summer, but the process collapsed after the announcement of the death of long-time Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar.

A subsequent power struggle within the Taliban has raised questions about who would represent the insurgents if and when talks with Kabul are revived.

Pakistan is believed to have influence over the Taliban, but relations with Kabul have been tense in recent months. The two countries have long accused each other of backing the Taliban and other insurgents operating along their porous border.

Afghan president Ashraf Ghani took part in a regional conference last month in Islamabad which called for the resumption of the Afghan-Taliban peace negotiations.

Mr Ghani was given a warm welcome at the meeting, which was also attended by US and Chinese representatives.

Press Association

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