Taliban negotiators in Islamabad for talks with Pakistani officials

Pakistan has invited key members of the Taliban’s negotiating team to Islamabad, where senior officials are to convince them on the importance of starting talks with the Afghan government.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told a press briefing on Monday that negotiations between the two sides were the “the only way forward” in Afghanistan.

“The delegation is in Islamabad and we will have a round of talks with them tomorrow as part of efforts aimed at (building) mutual confidence,” Qureshi said.

“This is for Afghans to reconcile, and our task is that of facilitator.”

“The main objective is to secure peace and the next phase should be the start of intra-Afghan dialogue.”

Talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government stalled again in the wake of a controversial prisoner swap.

The both sides had signaled they were prepared to start negotiations immediately after the Muslim festival of Eid, which ended earlier this month.

The swap has stumbled over the final few hundred prisoners. Kabul is reluctant to release ‘dangerous’ Taliban militants tied to deadly attacks.

In October 2019, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar – the Taliban’s co-founder who spent eight years in Pakistani custody – led a delegation to Islamabad ahead of a deal the insurgents signed in February with Washington.

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