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As violence surges in Afghanistan, Taliban delegation visits Pakistan

After meeting Taliban delegates, Pakistan Foreign Minister said Islamabad desired reduction in violence and ceasefire in Afghanistan to allow for development of peace process

AT News

KABUL: A Taliban delegation spearheading peace talks with Afghanistan government landed in Islamabad on Wednesday to meet Pakistan’s top civilian leadership, said Ministry of Foreign Affairs, after both sides agreed on a long-sought agenda after months of marathon negotiations.

The Taliban delegation, led by the group’s political leader Mullah Ghani Baradar, will meet Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan and foreign minister during the visit.

Afghanistan’s foreign ministry in a statement said the visit has taken place after consultation with the Afghan government and as a result of a state visit to Afghanistan by Pakistan’s Prime Minister.

The ministry said “expectations of the government and people of Afghanistan have been shared with Pakistan, emphasizing the importance of immediate reduction of violence, establishing a comprehensive ceasefire, and achieving lasting peace through constructive negotiations”.

After reaching an agreement on procedural ground rules this month, negotiators representing the Afghan government and the Taliban are taking a break until January 5 when they will continue to work on an agenda.

Both sides of the peace process will continue to consult with their leaderships and other key players during the break. It’s expected that the next stage of talks will be challenging as Taliban continue to reject the Afghan government’s calls for a ceasefire as violence has been escalating across the nation.

The Taliban last visited Islamabad in August, just before the peace talks with the Afghan government began in Doha as the United States pushed for a political settlement while it withdraws troops from the war-torn country.

The Taliban sources have said the issue of surging violence will be discussed with their military leaders during their leadership meetings.

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