Senior Pakistani Official Expects Peace Talks In Near Future

Sartaj Aziz, Adviser on Foreign Affairs for Pakistan’s Prime Minister, has said that he is hopeful the peace talks between Afghan government and Taliban will take place in the near future.

He added that the Taliban should present their conditions after primary sessions with the Afghan government – not before that.

“The message would be that many of the pre-conditions that they are putting forward can come as a result of negotiations and not in advance. I hope that like prisoner exchange and freedom momentum etcetera,” he said.

“Afghan government has already repeated their invitation for them [Taliban] to come forward so I hope in the coming days some process can start at some level,” Aziz said, expressing optimism that once the talks started, it would move forward.

Meanwhile, Philip Hammond, British Foreign Secretary, said: “I welcome Pakistan’s efforts to promote reconciliation within Afghanistan, and we discussed what more the international community can do to support that peace process.”

However, Afghan government’s remarks on the peace talks have had different sides so far.

Afghanistan’s Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah recently in a speech criticized the recent remarks by the newly-appointed head of High Peace Council Pir Sayed Ahmad Gailani as he said that war against the Taliban was not good and that he called on Taliban many times to join the peace process and lay down arms.

“They will lose their legitimacy in government and among the nation if they comment on war against Taliban from government’s tribune and say that war against Taliban is not allowed,” Abdullah said.

It comes as Taliban have reportedly rejected face-to-face talks with Afghan government which was expected to take place this week in Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad.

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