FM Qureshi to meet Afghan Taliban delegation today

A delegation of the Afghan Taliban led by Abdul Ghani Baradar will call on Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi today to discuss the Afghan peace process with the Pakistani leadership.

The delegation which arrived in Islamabad at the invitation of the Pakistani leadership on Monday will discuss the recent developments in Afghanistan’s peace process, relaxation and facilitation of people´s movement and trade between the two neighbouring countries, Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen had confirmed on Sunday in a tweet.

Qureshi while addressing a press conference on Monday, had said that the Pakistani leadership would have a round of talks with the delegation as part of its efforts aimed at [building] mutual confidence.

The foreign minister had added that Islamabad had invited the Taliban to Pakistan to stress the importance of talks, adding that negotiations were the “the only way forward” in Afghanistan.

“This is for Afghans to reconcile, and our task is that of the facilitator,” he said. “The main objective is to secure peace and the next phase should be the start of the intra-Afghan dialogue.”

The delegation is also expected to meet with the country’s civilian and military leadership, a senior official of Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) had informed foreign media on condition of anonymity, The News had reported.

Pakistan is seen as a key regional player in helping facilitate a February troop withdrawal deal between the United States and the Taliban to begin the process of ending 18 years of war. The agreement was intended to quickly lead to talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government but became mired in delays.

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