Effort to Revive Afghanistan Peace Talks Begins in Pakistan

The talks would end nearly 15 years of bloodshed, even as fighting with Taliban insurgents intensifies.

Updated
World
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In this file photo, Afghan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani (R) talks with Pakistan’s National Security Adviser Sartaj Aziz (L). (Photo: Reuters)

Delegates from Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and the United States sat down on Monday for talks to resurrect a stalled Afghan peace process and end nearly 15 years of bloodshed, even as fighting with Taliban insurgents intensifies.

Senior officials from the four countries are meeting in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, to launch an effort they hope will lead to negotiations with the Taliban, who are fighting to impose their strict brand of Islamist rule and are not expected at Monday’s talks.

The Pakistani prime minister’s foreign affairs adviser, Sartaj Aziz, opened the meeting, saying the primary goal should be to convince the Taliban to come to the table and consider giving up violence.

It is, therefore, important that preconditions are not attached to the start of the negotiation process. This, we argue, will be counterproductive. The threat of use of military action against irreconcilables cannot precede the offer of talks to all the groups.

Sartaj Aziz, Pakistani prime minister’s foreign affairs adviser

Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Karzai and Pakistani Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry were joined by Richard Olson, the US special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan and General Anthony Rock, the top US defence representative in Pakistan, as well as China’s special envoy on Afghanistan affairs, Deng Xijun.

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