WASHINGTON - he United States will send a delegation to Islamabad to take part in next week’s multilateral talks on the Afghanistan reconciliation process, the State Department has said.
“We do plan to participate,” the department’s spokesman, John Kirby, told reporters on Friday. “It will be an opportunity to further our partnership with Afghanistan, Pakistan and China in support of Afghan-led and Afghan-owned reconciliation.”
The next round of negotiations is scheduled for January 11. Kirby noted, however, that the State Department is yet to decide who will represent the United States during the talks. He underscored that the Taliban will not participate in the meeting.
The talks were agreed upon during a visit to Kabul last month by Pakistan’s Army Chief General Raheel Sharif. Monday’s talks do not include the Taliban, who have been battling the US-backed government for nearly 15 years and have recently stepped up their attacks. The process is a significant follow-up to the Heart of Asia discussions last month, Kirby said.
The spokesman went on to say that the US is looking forward to trying to make some progress here on what has been a very difficult issue.