Taliban Delegation Arrives in Islamabad for Consultations During Break in Peace Talks
A Taliban delegation, led by the group’s top political leader and co-founder, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, arrived today in Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad, for a three-day visit, during which it is to meet with Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, as well as military officials. “The visit of Taliban Political Commission delegation is part of Pakistan’s policy to reach out to key Afghan parties in the Afghan peace process with a view to facilitating the Intra-Afghan Negotiations, that commenced in Doha on 12 September 2020,” Pakistan’s Foreign Office said in a statement. Baradar and his team last visited Pakistan in August to discuss the Afghan peace process with the Pakistani leadership. After reaching an agreement on procedural ground rules earlier this month, negotiators representing the Afghan government and the Taliban are taking a break from their peace process until Jan. 5, when they will continue to work on an agenda. US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad called the agreement on procedures a “significant milestone.” In the wake of rising violence, the Afghan government has called for a cease-fire to top the agenda, while the Taliban says it should be discussed later. Both sides are consulting with their leaderships and key players during the break in negotiations.