KABUL – The four-nation Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QGC), comprising Afghanistan, China, Pakistan and the United States, are expected to hold a meeting in Oman next week to revive stalled peace talks involving the Taliban militant group.
A senior Pakistani Foreign Ministry official confirmed on Wednesday that the meeting would be convened in Muscat on October 16. The official would not elaborate on whether the representatives of the Taliban would join the gathering.
An Afghan official and a senior member of the High Peace Council (HPC) said the meeting would certainly take place with the presence of the Taliban delegates.
“HPC and government representatives will participate, and it is an important one because the Taliban representatives will be there. We will go with a clear plan,” said Amin Waqad, who is also a close aide to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.
Sources from the Taliban said the group had yet to receive an invitation, adding that the general plan in the leadership was to skip the meeting.
Two senior members of the Taliban later said that even an invitation at the time being would be too late and the group would certainly refrain from sending a delegation.
“Till that time, we were not invited, but even if we received an invitation, our senior members decided not to participate in the meeting,” said one of the Taliban leaders on condition of anonymity.
The QGC has been trying over the past years to facilitate direct talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban. Efforts stalled in 2015 when news broke out that Taliban’s founder and long-time leader Mullah Omar had died in 2013.
Washington has yet to comment on the news of the Oman meeting. Many blame the White House for the recent resurgence in Taliban militancy, saying US forces have effectively failed to establish security in Afghanistan some 16 years after they led an invasion of the country to oust the Taliban from power.