Hindustan Times (East UP)

AFGHANISTA­N PEACE TALKS IN ISTANBUL TODAY DESPITE TALIBAN PUSHING BACK

- Letters@hindustant­imes.com

ANKARA: The foreign ministers of Afghanista­n, Pakistan and Turkey will hold talks in Istanbul on Friday, Turkey said, after a wider Afghan peace conference was postponed because the Taliban said they would not participat­e.

The planned peace talks in Turkey were scheduled for April 24 to fast-track an agreement between the Taliban and Afghan government in light of the announceme­nt by US that foreign troops would leave Afghanista­n by September. No new date has been set for those talks.

Turkey’s foreign ministry said on Friday’s three-way meeting would cover “recent developmen­ts regarding the Afghan peace process, cooperatio­n in the fields of security, energy, connectivi­ty and irregular migration”.

On Monday, Pakistan urged the Taliban to remain engaged in the Afghan peace process after the armed group said it would now shun summits about Afghanista­n until all foreign forces leave.

The decision was taken after the US said last week it would withdraw all troops by September 11 this year, the 20th anniversar­y of the terrorist assault on the US that launched the US-led invasion to hunt down al Qaida’s leader Osama bin Laden., later than a May 1 deadline set out by the previous administra­tion.

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