Nawaz, Karzai reach deal on Taliban talks


Pakistan agrees to help Afghanistan relocate Taliban office from Doha

Aziz terms talks between Karzai and Nawaz ‘significant’

Pakistan and Afghanistan agreed during the high-level meeting in Murree the other day to initiate dialogue with the Afghan militants to facilitate the Afghan peace process and to adopt a joint strategy to convince the United States and Taliban to relocate the Taliban office from Doha to some other place.

Afghanistan has tipped Saudi Arabia and Turkey as possible new locations for the Taliban office. Experts say this may help Pakistan and Afghanistan to keep the dialogue process within their control and would prevent the Taliban and US negotiators from making an independent agreement.

According to sources, both countries discussed the release of senior Taliban leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar as a confidence-building measure. The timing of his release will be discussed later, the source said.

Mullah Baradar is a deputy of Taliban leader Mullah Omar and was detained by Pakistan on February 8, 2010 during a joint US and Pakistan operation

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistan Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvaiz Kayani, a key player in the Afghan peace process, were present at the meeting.

During the meeting, the prime minister said Pakistan and Afghanistan had to work closely to bring peace in the region.

Meanwhile, Adviser to Prime Minister on Foreign and Security Affairs Sartaj Aziz on Wednesday termed Karzai’s visit to Pakistan as “significant”.

Talking to media personnel in Islamabad, Aziz said both countries agreed that Afghanistan and Pakistan, were the main stakeholders of the Afghan conflict and they should not be kept aloof from talks between the US and Taliban, adding that Pakistan would support the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process.

Aziz said Karzai’s visit helped forge an understanding and removed the misgivings between the two countries, with both countries acknowledging that their peace and stability were inter-linked.

He said that Islamabad and Kabul wanted to increase cooperation in trade, economic and power sectors.

Aziz said Pakistan would resolve the problems faced by Afghan traders during transit trade, adding that Pakistan and Afghanistan agreed to accelerate construction work on the Jalalabad-Torkham Road and to build a motorway between Kabul and Peshawar