Tale­ban en­voys in Pak­istan to dis­cuss pos­si­ble peace talks

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

A del­e­ga­tion from the Tale­ban’s po­lit­i­cal of­fice vis­ited Pak­istan over the week­end, se­nior of­fi­cials said yestur­day, for dis­cus­sions that could in­clude the lat­est in­for­mal ef­fort to restart talks to end Afghanistan’s long war. The visit comes days af­ter Tale­ban sources said they had held in­for­mal meet­ings with Afghan and US of­fi­cials in Qatar, the first di­rect meet­ings in more than a year af­ter a fledg­ling process to halt the 15-year-old con­flict col­lapsed.

Tale­ban sources said Mul­lah Ab­dul Manan brother of the late Tale­ban founder Mul­lah Omar - met with US and Afghan of­fi­cials but there was no break­through to­ward restart­ing for­mal talks. The Tale­ban del­e­ga­tion will brief Pak­istani se­cu­rity agen­cies on the Qatar meet­ings - which did not in­clude Pak­istani rep­re­sen­ta­tives - and com­plain about the re­cent ar­rests of some of its se­nior com­man­ders in Pak­istan, a se­nior member based in Doha said. Po­lit­i­cal of­fice rep­re­sen­ta­tives Sha­habud­din Di­lawar, Jan Mo­ham­mad and Ab­dul Salam Hanafi trav­elled from Qatar and some other joined them in Pak­istan, the of­fi­cial said.

An­other Tale­ban member based in Afghanistan said the del­e­ga­tion had held one round of talks and would stay for few more days. Tale­ban spokesman Zabi­hul­lah Mu­jahid con­firmed a del­e­ga­tion was vis­it­ing Pak­istan but would not comment on the Qatar talks, which he has de­nied took place. “The del­e­ga­tion was sent to dis­cuss some ma­jor is­sues with Pak­istani lead­er­ship in­clud­ing the ar­rests of Afghan refugees and their repa­tri­a­tion to Afghanistan,” Mu­jahid said.

Pak­istan’s For­eign Min­istry spokesman said he had no in­for­ma­tion about any Tale­ban visit. The Doha-based Tale­ban of­fi­cial said Pak­istan was taken into con­fi­dence about the Qatar meet­ings, but they now be­lieve Pak­istan re­cently ar­rested some se­nior Tale­ban com­man­ders to se­nior com­man­ders to show their dis­plea­sure at be­ing left out.

An­other Tale­ban member said a few days ago Pak­istani se­cu­rity agen­cies had raided a madrassa in Quetta and ar­rested an­other Tale­ban com­man­der, Mul­lah Ab­dul Samad Sani. “We don’t know what’s go­ing on but this is sec­ond time dur­ing the past two months that Pak­istani au­thor­i­ties raided a madrassa in Quetta to ar­rest se­nior Tale­ban member,” the Quetta-based Tale­ban said. Pak­istan hosted the first and only round of of­fi­cial peace ne­go­ti­a­tions be­tween the Afghan govern­ment and the Tale­ban in­sur­gents to end a war that kills and maims thou­sands an­nu­ally. A planned sec­ond round of talks was called off af­ter news broke that founder Mul­lah Omar had been dead for more than two years, send­ing the in­sur­gent lead­er­ship into tur­moil. —Reuters

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