The Special Representative of the United States of America (USA), Zalmay Khalilzad, thanked Pakistan for arranging the travel of Taliban leaders to Qatar. This is an extension of the peace talks with the Taliban, where the group’s senior leaders will hold another round of peace talks starting Monday as Washington intensifies efforts to find a negotiated solution to Afghanistan’s 17-year war. This meeting is the result of consistent efforts by the Pakistani government to help stabilise the region and play its part in influencing Taliban leaders to join the negotiation table. For this reason, Pakistan has also had to free several Taliban leaders from its jails to encourage trust between all parties and to tow the narrative of peace.

There is speculation that the USA will urge the Taliban to also negotiate with the Afghan government on the ground. This is important in the peace process because this will not only help end the war but also reduce the chances of the Afghan civil war. If the Taliban are to be incorporated into the system, it has to be through the channel of the existing government. This will push the Taliban to accept the legitimacy of the government in place and it will help the body coordinate with both Pakistan and Afghanistan without the involvement of the USA. The USA has also promised a withdrawal of its troops from Afghanistan, which is a feasible plan in case the peace process initiates. Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid told The Associated Press, “Yes, there is a possibility we will reach some results.”

Mullah Baradar, who is leading the Taliban delegation, was released last year from a Pakistani jail. Following his release, he had circulated a Pashto audio tape promising Taliban fighters he would have a greater presence within the movement. Khalilzad’s tweeted appreciating Pakistan’s help in this “significant moment” as he wrapped up lunch with Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and his team after their first meeting. Pakistan has played a significant role since the release of Mullah Baradar until facilitating the Taliban leaders in traveling to Qatar. This will help Pakistan gain footing in the international front. The only area which requires attention now is the ten-point agenda given by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). Extensive planning must be carried out to ensure that all points are followed before the next review.