Islamabad: Afghanistan has yet to contact
Taliban leaders who may be willing to join peace talks, and
will need Pakistan`s help in bringing them to the negotiating
table, a senior Afghan official has said.
Deputy foreign minister Jawed Ludin`s comments hint at
the difficulties behind the US-supported drive to engineer an
end to the war, as well as the role neighbouring Pakistan long
accused by critics of aiding the insurgency looks likely to
have play for it to succeed.
Ludin spoke after two days of talks in Islamabad with
Pakistani officials and US special envoy to Pakistan and
Afghanistan, Marc Grossman. The main agenda was "Afghan
reconciliation" the preferred term in all three countries for
the still nascent peace process.
After fighting the Taliban for 10 years in
Afghanistan, the United States now wants to cut a deal with
them to enable it to leave the country.
The Taliban, which have support in the south of the
country, publicly insist they have no interest in negotiating
peace so long as foreign troops occupy Afghanistan.
Ludin said the government had reached out to mid- and
low-level insurgent commanders in Afghanistan, but that the
leaders which he hinted were in Pakistan, in line with the
assessment of US officials were not yet part of the process.
"Really the majority of the ones that really need to
be brought into the peace process are the ones we need to
establish contact with," he said. "We need to identify who we
can reconcile with and then how we approach them and then
persuade them to join the peace process."