Afghan Taliban confirm presence of reconciliation delegation in Pakistan
"The delegation is meet Pakistani officials to raise some problems faced by Afghan refugees in border areas and urge Pakistani side to immediately release Taliban prisoners including Mullah Bradar Akhund," it said.
The statement, however, did not state if the delegation would also meet any representative of Afghan government to talk about proposed Afghan peace process or not.
Meanwhile BBC has claimed that Taliban leaders Mullah Shahabuddin Dilawar and Mullah Jan Mohammad are among the delegate who have reached Pakistan's Karachi city from Qatar this week. Some Taliban leaders already present in Pakistan will also join the talks, it said while quoting unnamed sources.
Pakistan is also set to host fifth meeting of Quadrilateral Coordination Group -which includes Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States and China- which aims to cater direct talks between Afghan government and Taliban. The meeting is yet to be announced officially.
Taliban's confirmation of sending the reconciliation delegation to Pakistan comes at a time when Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has ruled out any possibility of talks with groups involved in killing of security forces and Afghan countrymen.
Addressing in Afghan Parliament after last week’s deadly bombing in Kabul which claimed 24 lives and injured over 400 people, Ghani said that he does not expect Pakistan to bring Taliban to table for peace talks.
Instead, he urged Islamabad to crush Taliban militants, alleging that Taliban fighters are using Pakistani soil to plan and execute terrorist attack in Afghanistan. Taliban insurgents will suffer in battlefield and eventually request for peace talks, he went on to say while blaming that Pakistan differentiates between good and bad Taliban.
He threatened if Pakistan failed to fulfill its promises to crush Taliban as decided in quadrilateral meeting, Afghanistan will move US Security Council over this issue.
He said that government has prepared a 5-year war strategy that will be finalized at the Warsaw Summit in July this year. He announced that his government will execute all detained militants.
Reacting to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s address, the Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman said that Pakistan condemns all forms and manifestation of terrorism and it is committed in the fight against this menace.
In a statement, spokesman Nafees Zakaria said that Pakistan doesn’t differentiate between terrorist groups. Pakistan itself is the biggest victim of terrorism in which thousands of our security personnel have sacrificed their lives, he went on to say.
Commenting on Ashraf Ghani’s accusation about unfulfilled Pakistani promises with the Quadrilateral Coordination Group on Afghan peace talks, he said that Pakistan is making serious efforts for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan.
He said Pakistan hosted the first round of direct talks between Afghan government and Taliban. He, however, added that Pakistan alone is not responsible for bringing the Taliban back to the table.
He said the Quadrilateral Coordination Group was constituted to achieve the objective of peace and stability in Afghanistan. The spokesman said peace in the neighbouring country is in the interest of Pakistan.
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