Afghan peace negotiators meet PM Sharif
Afghan peace negotiators visiting Pakistan to meet senior Afghan Taliban commander Mullah Baradar wrapped up their three-day trip on Thursday with a meeting with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
Islamabad: Afghan peace negotiators visiting Pakistan to meet senior Afghan Taliban commander Mullah Baradar wrapped up their three-day trip on Thursday with a meeting with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
The visit by the five-member delegation of the Afghan High Peace Council took place after Sharif accepted a request for access to Baradar from Afghan President Hamid Karzai during a trilateral summit hosted by British Prime Minister David Cameron in London last month.
The Afghan team led by High Peace Council Chairman Salahuddin Rabbani arrived in Islamabad on Tuesday but the visit was kept under wraps till yesterday.
In a brief statement, the Foreign Office said the "visit is part of Pakistan`s continuing engagement with the High Peace Council for the facilitation of peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan".
The delegation met Sartaj Aziz, the premier`s Adviser on National Security and Foreign Affairs, and called on the Prime Minister. "The discussions focused on efforts for the promotion of the peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan," the statement said.
At his meeting with the Afghan team, Sharif reiterated the importance that Pakistan attaches to a peaceful and stable Afghanistan. He underscored Islamabad`s resolve to extend all possible facilitation for Afghan peace and reconciliation.
"Pakistan has always supported a peaceful, stable and united Afghanistan and Pakistan is playing a constructive and positive role to facilitate an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned reconciliation process," he said.
Rabbani said Afghanistan is eagerly awaiting a visit by Sharif to provide momentum to peace and reconciliation.
Baradar continues to remain under surveillance by Pakistani security agencies despite his release from custody. Kabul believes Baradar is a key figure for its efforts to kick start the stalled peace process as NATO combat troops prepare to pull out of Afghanistan by the end of 2014.
The commander had been in the custody in Pakistan since his capture in Karachi in 2010. He is the highest ranking of the 34 Afghan Taliban commanders freed so far by Pakistan.
He was once considered the most influential Taliban leader after Mullah Muhammad Omar. He was captured after Pakistani intelligence agencies were reportedly angered by his failure to inform them about his secret talks with the Afghan government.