KABUL - The Afghan government has slammed Pakistan for hosting Taliban leaders and demanded Islamabad stops sheltering militants on its soil, reported Arab News on Saturday.

A high-level Taliban delegation, led by the group’s deputy head Mulla Abdul Ghani Baradar, arrived in Islamabad on Wednesday to hold talks with Pakistani officials. “Hosting an insurgent group is against all norms and principles among countries,” said Sediq Seddiqi, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s chief spokesman.

Islamabad said on Thursday that it would continue making efforts for “lasting peace in Afghanistan” after holding initial talks with the Taliban leaders. Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said the meeting with Pakistani officials involved discussions on Afghan refugees, businessmen based in Pakistan and regional security.

The Taliban delegation arrived in Islamabad when the US special envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad was also present and sources in the US Embassy confirmed that a meeting did take place between the two sides.

The development comes weeks after US President Donald Trump abruptly called off peace talks with the Taliban in Qatar after nearly a year of intense engagement that had created high hopes of a deal to restore peace and stability in war-torn Afghanistan.

Senior Afghan Taliban leaders and Pakistani officials have called for the resumption of peace talks to end the war in Afghanistan.

Trump linked his move to the killing of a US solider in Kabul by the Taliban in a suicide attack which also claimed the lives of 10 Afghans.

Khan, who met with Trump in New York at the UN General Assembly, urged the stalled peace dialogue to resume and offered his country’s positive role to help support the two sides.

However, Sediqqi said that the Taliban’s recent Islamabad visit would not help the peace process in Afghanistan. “The peace process can be effective when it is led and owned by the government of Afghanistan and we do not see any sign of commitment for peace from the Taliban group,” he said.

“Our usual demand from Pakistan has been to destroy the safe havens of Taliban and terrorists on its soil and play a positive role in the security of the region,” he added.