Pak to persuade Afghan Taliban to shift office from Qatar

Last Updated: Wednesday, August 28, 2013 - 12:10

Islamabad: Pakistan will persuade the Afghan Taliban to relocate their political office from Qatar to either Saudi Arabia or Turkey and enter into direct talks with Kabul, a media report today said.

The issue was discussed between Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Afghan President Hamid Karzai during their meetings in last two days, The Express Tribune reported.

The discussions between the two sides were "open and candid" where all issues of mutual interests were discussed, an unnamed senior official was quoted as saying by the paper.

The official said much of the discussions were concentrated on how to break the deadlock in efforts to strike a peace deal with the Afghan Taliban.

Karzai, who was accompanied by senior officials including head of the Afghan High Peace Council, has sought Pakistan`s help to convince the Taliban to shift their office from the Qatari capital Doha to either Saudi Arabia or Turkey and start negotiations with his administration, the report said.

The Doha office of the Taliban, which opened with much fanfare, is currently said to be dormant after Afghan administration strongly opposed the move.

Speaking to state-run Radio Pakistan, Prime Minister`s Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz had said Taliban are not willing to talk to the Afghan Government or the Afghan High Peace Council.

However, Pakistan will try its best to persuade them for dialogue so as to avert outbreak of civil war in post-conflict Afghanistan, he said.

He said the visit of Afghan President helped forge understanding and remove misgivings between the two countries.

However, Dawn daily reported that Karzai left without any major breakthrough on stalemated peace talks with Taliban or release of militants the Afghan government wants.

The upshot of the visit was renewal of political contacts between the two countries after months of acrimony and estrangement, it said.

Pakistan had played a key role in the establishment of the Taliban office in Doha.

Some of the freed Taliban detainees held by Pakistan were also instrumental in bringing their top leadership to the negotiating table.
The issue of release of more Taliban prisoners also came under discussions during Karzai`s visit.

Although, Pakistan principally agreed to free more detainees, the timing of such releases has yet to be decided, The Express Tribune reported.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, August 28, 2013 - 12:10

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