Pakistani Foreign Minister Invites Taliban for Talks

Pakistani Foreign Minister Invites Taliban for Talks

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – An Afghan Taliban political team arrived in Islamabad, Pakistan, as part of efforts to help launch peace talks between Kabul and the group.

The Taliban delegation, headed by political chief Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, will discuss “recent developments in Afghanistan’s peace process” with Pakistani leaders, as well as the “relaxation and facilitation of people’s movement and trade between the two neighboring countries,” said a tweet by a Taliban spokesman.

In a press conference early on Monday, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said the meetings were meant to further the “aim” of bringing peace and stability to Afghanistan, AFP reported.

“I have invited them again and will have a detailed meeting with them tomorrow,” he told reporters, adding that he will share the outcome of the talks with media.

Other members of the Taliban team include Khairullah Khairkhwa, Mohammad Nabi Omari, Shahbuddin Dilawar, Qari Deen Muhammad and Abdul Latif Mansoor.

“Afghan Taliban officials routinely pay visits to other countries as part of our political strategy to convey our views about the peace process,” the Taliban spokesman said, adding that recent trips have been delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Taliban’s arrival in Pakistan follows a statement by Pakistan’s foreign ministry that it would enforce 2015 UN-imposed penalties that target dozens of individuals, including Baradar and several members of the Haqqani family, including Sirajuddin, current head of the Haqqani network and deputy head of the Taliban.

The timing of the decision has been seen by some as a tactic to push the group into negotiations.

On Sunday the group said the sanctions could affect the peace process.

“These are not new sanctions, they were previously slapped on a number of members,” the Taliban said.

“But we are now entering into intra-Afghan negotiations and there is a need for travel, so of course these sanctions will hamper the peace process.”

But Qureshi said the officials were coming to Pakistan by invitation and that the peace process would not be affected by sanctions.

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