Afghan delegation arriving tomorrow to discuss Taliban


ISLAMABAD – A delegation of Afghan Peace Council will arrive in Islamabad on Tuesday on a two-day visit to hold talks with Pakistani leadership and furnish a formal request for Islamabad’s help for the success of ongoing ‘reconciliation process’ with the Taliban.
Former Afghan president Burhanuddin Rabbani will lead the delegation of Afghan Peace Council, which is visiting Pakistan on the invitation of Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani. The 70-member council was formed by the Karzai administration in October 2010 to reach out to the Taliban for peace talks but it has made a little progress since its formation.
“Afghan delegation will hold talks with the Pakistani leadership as part of efforts to find a durable solution to the years’ long Taliban insurgency”, a Pakistani diplomat said on Sunday. “The information that we have received from Kabul suggests that the delegation would make a formal request for Pakistan’s support to the ongoing reconciliation process between the Karzai government and the Taliban,” he said requesting anonymity.
He said the delegation comprising council’s 15 members would meet President Asif Ali Zardari, Gilani, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and other senior civilian and military officials. He said the Afghan Peace Council’s visit to Islamabad was the recognition of fact that Pakistan was a key player in the Afghan conflict and any solution to prolonged war in Afghanistan hinged on Islamabad’s help in brokering peace through talks and also to assist the military efforts aimed at eliminating the Taliban insurgency.
When contacted, a Foreign Office official said Pakistan would continue to support and help in whatever way the Afghanistan government wanted. “Lasting peace in Afghanistan is in Pakistan’s interests too and we will take every possible step to help achieve that objective,” he said.