Kabul : Today’s meeting in Islamabad could revive a talk process that disrupted last summer, after Afghanistan announced that Mullah Mohammad Omar, founder and leader of the Taliban, had died in a Pakistani hospital more than two years ago. That announcement had forced the Taliban to pull out of the talks after just one meeting hosted by Islamabad. What followed was a subsequent power struggle within the Taliban which had strongly raised questions about who would represent the insurgents if and when the talks with Kabul are restarted.
Analysts do stand skeptical on the revival of talks and seem to suggest with a deep amount of caution that despite the rapprochement between Kabul and Islamabad, any substantive peace talks appear to be a distant reality, and would likely be still many months off. Pakistan’s relations with Kabul had been tense in past times in recent months, and war of words have flown from both sides as the two countries have long accused each other of backing the Taliban and other insurgents operating along their porous border.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani participated in a regional conference last month in Islamabad, which called for the resumption of the Afghan-Taliban peace negotiations. To lay a warm carpet of invite, Ghani was given a warm welcome at the meeting, which was also attended by US and Chinese representatives.
The meeting today revolves around the agenda where Pakistan is expected to present a list of Talibanis willing to negotiate with Kabul at a meeting this week aimed at reviving the Afghan peace process, as confirmed by an afghan official last evening. Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and the United States are scheduled to meet in Islamabad today to discuss a road map for peace talks. The meeting will not include the Taliban.
Javid Faisal, deputy spokesman for Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, said that Pakistan’s list will include Taliban who do and do not want talks with Kabul on ending the 15-year war. Earlier, Pakistan had agreed to cut off financial support to Taliban fighters based in Pakistani cities, including Quetta and Peshawar, he added, saying, insurgents based in Pakistan would not be allowed to resettle in Afghanistan. He clearly mentioned that the agreement would also include bilateral cooperation on eliminating terrorism.