Afghan Taliban delegation visited Pak, briefs about recent talks with Kabul

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ISLAMABAD: Three senior members of the Afghan Taliban held a series of meetings with Pakistani officials in the federal capital in a bid to brief them about the recent secret talks with Kabul held in Qatar.
The Islamabad meets were confirmed on Saturday by a Pakistani official, an Afghan diplomat and a senior Taliban official.
Although the Afghan ambassador to Pakistan Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal said he was aware of the meetings but refused to offer details.
The Taliban who were sent to Pakistan included former ministers in the Taliban government Mullah Salam Hanifi and Mullah Jan Mohammed and Maulvi Shahabuddin Dilawar also a former ambassador to Saudi Arabia and Pakistan said the senior Taliban official.
Islamabad is playing its role to ensure peace in Afghanistan, said the senior Pakistani security official on condition of anonymity who confirmed the latest meetings between the Taliban and Pakistani authorities.
“We will keep making efforts to facilitate talks between Kabul and the Taliban as we did in July 2015 but the world knows who scuttled the peace process at the time and we do not want to discuss those bitter things,” the Pakistani official added.
Pakistan arranged the first-ever face to face meeting between Kabul and the Taliban in 2015 but the peace process broke down after the Afghan government announced the death years earlier of the Taliban’s founder and leader Mullah Mohammed Omar. (INP)

Aziz says “not aware” if any Afghan Taliban delegation came Pak

ISLAMABAD: Adviser to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz on Saturday said he was “not aware” if any delegation of the Afghan Taliban had recently come to Pakistan in relation to peace talks with the government in Kabul.
Aziz’s statement comes as news reports quoted officials as saying that three senior Afghan Taliban members travelled to Pakistan this week and held a series of meetings with Pakistani officials in Islamabad, mainly to brief them about the recent talks held in Qatar between the Afghan Taliban and Kabul.
A report quoted the Afghan ambassador to Pakistan Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal, an unnamed Pakistani official and a senior Taliban official as having knowledge of the meetings.
Speaking to media Aziz today said: “Delegations keep coming, they have come in the past but right now there is no confirmation on the matter.”
He said everyone was trying for peace in Afghanistan and if there is consensus on how to take the dialogue forward, the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) – the four-nation group working for reconciliation in Afghanistan – could be approached.
When asked if he saw the Afghan Taliban becoming a part of the government in Kabul in the future, Aziz said that remains to be seen, adding that a lot of steps will have to be taken before that stage could be reached.
Speaking to a foreign news service Afghan ambassador to Pakistan, Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal, said he was aware of the meetings held this week but refused to offer details. According to a senior Taliban official, the Taliban who were sent to Pakistan were Mullah Salam Hanifi and Mullah Jan Mohammed, both former ministers in the Taliban government, and Maulvi Shahabuddin Dilawar, a former ambassador to Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.
Meanwhile, a senior Pakistani security official confirmed the latest meetings between the Afghan Taliban and Pakistani authorities, saying Islamabad was playing its role to ensure peace in the neighbouring country.