Foreign Office says delegation has been invited to discuss ongoing peace process in Afghanistan
A delegation of the Afghan Taliban is set to arrive in Pakistan today (Monday) at the invitation of the Foreign Office to discuss the ongoing peace process in Afghanistan.
The “delegation has been invited to Pakistan to discuss the way forward in the Afghan peace process,” Foreign Office spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri confirmed to local media.
“A high-level delegation led by Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, deputy political chief, left for Pakistan at the invitation of the country’s Foreign Ministry,” Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen said in a series of tweets on Sunday. “The delegation will hold talks with senior Pakistani officials about recent developments in Afghanistan’s peace process, relaxation and facilitation of peoples’ movement and trade between the two neighboring countries, issues related to the Afghan refugees in Pakistan and other related topics,” he added.
According to Shaheen, the trip is party of the Taliban’s policy to “pay visits to regional and world’s countries from time to time for furthering positive relations and conveying its views and stance to the world about the peace process.” It said the trips had been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but had now resumed and the Pakistan trip would be followed by “more visits to other countries in near future as well.”
The visit comes ahead of the much delayed intra-Afghan peace talks that were part of the accord signed between the insurgents and the U.S. in February. Initially delayed over Kabul’s refusal to do a prisoner swap, the barrier was removed after the government released 400 Taliban prisoners earlier this month.
This would mark Mullah Baradar’s second visit to Pakistan in the last 10 months. He visited Islamabad last October after U.S. President Donald Trump abruptly called off the peace talks over the militant group’s continued attacks on U.S.-led foreign forces.