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Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, US meet for Taliban peace talks

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Pakistani Prime Minister’s Adviser on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz (photo by AFP)

Representatives from Pakistan, Afghanistan, the United States and China have met in the Pakistani capital city of Islamabad to draw up a roadmap for Afghan peace talks with the Taliban.

The meeting was held in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, on Saturday.

Following the meeting, Pakistani Prime Minister’s Adviser on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz called on splinter groups of the Taliban militant outfit to engage in peace talks with the Afghan government.

Aziz said that as many Taliban groups as possible must be persuaded to join the peace process for a “significant” reduction in violence.

“We believe our collective efforts at this stage, including through supportive CBMs (confidence-building measures), have to be aimed at persuading the maximum number of Taliban groups to join the peace talks,” Aziz added.

The senior Pakistani official added, “In our view, a clear, well-defined and actionable roadmap for the peace process between the Afghan government and Taliban groups is important.”

Former Afghan Taliban fighters carry their weapons before handing them over as part of a government peace and reconciliation process at a ceremony in Jalalabad, eastern Afghanistan, January, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

Pakistan mediated the first round of the peace talks between delegates from the Afghan government and the Taliban last summer, but a planned second meeting was cancelled after news broke that Taliban’s founder and long-time leader Mullah Omar had died two years ago.

There have also been growing differences among Taliban elements over the negotiations, with some vowing to fight for power instead of taking part in negotiations.

Last week, Afghan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah said Kabul expects at least parts of the Taliban to agree to peace talks within the next six months.

Afghanistan is gripped by insecurity more than 14 years after the United States and its allies attacked the country as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror.

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