Left Menu
Development News Edition

Taliban to meet US, Pakistan official on Feb 18 for peace talks in Afghanistan


Taliban to meet US, Pakistan official on Feb 18 for peace talks in Afghanistan
His unexpected announcement comes even as another round of negotiations between the two sides is scheduled in Qatar by the end of this month. Image Credit: Flickr

In a surprise announcement, the Afghan Taliban said that its negotiators would meet top US and Pakistani officials, including Prime Minister Imran Khan, on Monday in Islamabad as part of the ongoing peace talks to end the 17-year bloody war in Afghanistan. On the "formal invitation of the government of Pakistan, another meeting is scheduled to take place between the negotiation teams of the Islamic Emirate and the US on 18th of February, 2019 in Islamabad," Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said in a statement on Wednesday.

His unexpected announcement comes even as another round of negotiations between the two sides is scheduled in Qatar by the end of this month. Mujahid said that the regular round of talks in Qatar would take place as scheduled on February 25.

Neither Washington nor Islamabad immediately confirmed the announcement by the Taliban. Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the UAE were the only three countries that recognised the Taliban regime before their removal by US-led forces in 2001.

The Taliban was earlier reluctant to hold talks with US officials, including Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad, in Pakistan. Since being appointed in September last, Khalilzad has met with all sides in an attempt to end America's longest war in which the US has lost over 2,400 soldiers in more than 17 years.

The Taliban control nearly half of Afghanistan and are more powerful than at any time since the 2001 US-led invasion after the 9/11 terror attacks. In his statement, Mujahid said the Taliban's delegation would also meet Prime Minister Khan in Islamabad.

He said that in the meeting with Khan, the Taliban would have "comprehensive discussions about Pak-Afghan relations and issues pertaining to Afghan refugees and Afghan businessmen". Though there was no official confirmation, diplomatic sources in Pakistan said that the Taliban delegation would visit Pakistan and hold talks with both American and Pakistani officials.

On Tuesday, the Taliban announced a 14-member negotiating team, which includes five former inmates of the infamous Guantanamo Bay prison who were released in 2014 in exchange for US Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was captured by the Taliban in 2009. The Taliban team, headed by Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, also includes Anas Haqqani, the jailed younger brother of the Haqqani network leader.

The Taliban have repeatedly demanded Anas Haqqani's release. Taliban's move to appoint him as a member of the negotiating team is seen as a tactic to secure his release before the talks in Qatar later this month. In a recent interview to a Pakistani TV channel, Mujahid said that despite the ongoing talks with the US and other regional powers, the Taliban had "not yet reached" any conclusion that would entail an immediate end to hostilities against America.

"We are forced to wage war. Our enemies are attacking us; therefore, we are also combating them," the Taliban spokesman said. In a series of tweets after six days of talks with the Taliban representatives in Doha last month, Khalilzad said the US has made "significant progress" in its peace talks with the Taliban.

"We have a draft of the framework that has to be fleshed out before it becomes an agreement," Khalilzad said at the time. "The Taliban have committed, to our satisfaction, to do what is necessary that would prevent Afghanistan from ever becoming a platform for international terrorist groups or individuals." But Mujahid in the interview said that even in Moscow talks, nothing concrete was achieved that would compel them to end the war and military pressure, the channel reported.

He insisted that the Taliban are holding talks with the United States "on their own initiative". US President Donald Trump reportedly wants to cut in half the 14,000 American troops in Afghanistan, and the Taliban leaders have made a US withdrawal a key condition in peace negotiations.

(With inputs from agencies.)

Download The Devdiscourse News App for Latest News.


TRENDING

OPINION/BLOG/INTERVIEW

WEF 2020: Trump seems politically correct in pulling out from Paris Agreement

If the survey of the World Economic Forum WEF is believed, Trump seems to enjoy the confidence of his people in flaying climate intuitions and climate activists. His preference for economic development over environmental protection not only...

From home to healthcare, here are Robotic innovations transforming lives

Lovot is equipped with more than 50 sensors such as thermography, microphone array, obstacle detection, and touch sensor to generate motion and emotions in real-time....

Translating words to deeds: Achieving gender parity in access to financial resources

... ...

SDG13: How you can reduce global warming by changing your food habits

The mega narratives of various international organizations give the impression that fighting global warming is only a job of government agencies. However, the European Investment Bank EIB has designed a questionnaire which besides making th...

Videos

Latest News

UPDATE 2-Angola may seek arrest warrant for dos Santos, co-suspect found dead in Lisbon

Angola could issue an international arrest warrant for billionaire Isabel dos Santos if she fails to cooperate with a fraud investigation in which she has been named as a suspect, its chief prosecutor was quoted as saying.Angola has named d...

People from Jamia Milia, Kashmir to disrupt peace in U'khand: Rawat

Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat on Thursday said he had inputs that people from Jamia Milia and Kashmir had entered Uttarakhand to incite passions and disrupt peace. He warned that this will not be tolerated in the state.I have feedbac...

Israel's Netanyahu calls Iran "most anti-Semitic regime"

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday called Iran the most antisemitic regime on the planet during an address during a Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem.I am concerned that we have yet to see a unified and resolute stance agai...

Fadnavis govt tapped oppn leaders' phones: Maha home minister

Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh on Thursday alleged that the previous Devendra Fadnavis dispensation misused government machinery to tap the phones of opposition leaders, and an inquiry has been ordered in this regard. Talking to r...

Give Feedback