(MENAFN – The Peninsula) Two Taliban suicide attacks just an hour apart killed one person and wounded five in Kabul on Tuesday, even as an Afghan delegation travelled to Pakistan for talks with the militants.
But the meeting Tuesday appeared to end nearly as quickly as it was announced.
The Foreign Office said that the participants were duly mandated by their respective leadership and expressed their collective desire to bring peace to Afghanistan and the region.
The head of the United Nations’ political mission in Afghanistan also welcomed this week’s talks. Pakistanis also felt they had been bypassed at the Doha talks. On official from the council said the government representatives include Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Karzai.
On the Taliban side, however, it was unclear who was attending. China has played a growing role in trying to broker peace talks.
“This is an important step in advancing prospects for a credible peace”, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters.
It is for the first time that such an announcement has been made about peace process between Afghans and the Taliban.
Still, expectations for concrete results are not high.
The next meeting is expected to take place after the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
The Pakistan and the Afghan government statements did not mention any of the participants by name.
This internal bickering is not going to help an Afghan military and police force already struggling in their first post-Nato fighting season against a resurgent Taliban. That, in part, is why the group opened a political office in Qatar and insisted that any official diplomatic communications go through there.
“There’re some Taliban who still don’t want peace”. Another turning point came in December, when the Pakistani Taliban carried out a gruesome attack against a school in Peshawar.
“The participants agreed to continue talks to create an environment conducive for (the) peace and reconciliation process”, read a statement from the Pakistani Foreign Ministry.
Officials on Tuesday said the Afghan delegation had traveled to Islamabad in the latest bid to start peace talks with the Taliban.
There have been several informal meetings between the Taliban and Afghan officials at venues outside Afghanistan in recent months, but little in the way of concrete progress.
And this is also the first time the Taliban have agreed to participate in talks publicly acknowledged by both Islamabad and Kabul. The United States commends the government of Afghanistans prioritization of peace and reconciliation efforts with the Taliban.. He believes the Taliban involved in Tuesday’s meeting did not represent the whole of the insurgent group and a that peace deal cannot be reached without a confirmation of the peace talks by the official Taliban spokesmen.
Are the Taliban scared of Islamic State?
Many believe the top Taliban leaders are completely dependent on Pakistan for sanctuary and protection, and could not have ordered such widespread attacks in Afghanistan without Pakistan’s knowledge or consent.
On the other hand, the diplomat said, the Islamic State’s growing relevance could reduce the possibility of peace talks.
However the Taliban have laid down hardline preconditions for taking part in full-blown negotiations, stressing the need for the complete departure of foreign troops from Afghan soil.