Afghan Taliban leaders in Pakistan to explore possibility of peace talks

The Afghan Taliban on Wednesday confirmed a visit of its leaders to Pakistan.

A three-member delegation had arrived in Islamabad from its Qatar-based office on Monday to discuss the possibility of the peace talks, diplomatic and official sources said.

“Since the Afghan people have close relations, long border and commercial transactions with Pakistan and a large number of our countrymen are living there as refugees, therefore, the Political Office of the Islamic Emirate has decided to send a high level delegation to Islamabad,” the Taliban Qatar office said.

“The esteemed leader of Islamic Emirate has instructed the delegation to discuss issues regarding Afghan refugees, some problems about frontier areas and particularly to discuss the release of Mullah Bradar Akhund and some other prisoners with the officials of the government of Pakistan.”

Mullah Baradar, the former second-in-command in the Taliban hierarchy, was arrested in Karachi in 2010, and the Taliban said he has not yet been freed.

Pakistan had said in 2013 that Baradar was released along with some 50 senior Taliban leaders in 2013 on the request by then Afghan president Hamid Karzai.

A Taliban statement said the visit to Pakistan “would be in the interest of both countries and would have fruitful results”.

Pakistan had hosted the first face-to-face meeting between the Taliban and the Afghan government in July last year near Islamabad.

The talks — dubbed as Murree Peace Process — broke down after the death of Mullah Omar was confirmed in late July.


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