Afghan peace talks start in Pakistan
Jan 11, Jerusalem: Talks aimed at kickstarting negotiations for a final peace settlement in Afghanistan have begun in Pakistan, media reports said.
Monday's meeting could revive a process that collapsed last summer after Afghanistan announced that Mullah Mohammad Omar, founder and leader of the Taliban, had died in a Pakistani hospital more than two years ago.
The announcement led the Taliban to pull out of the talks after just one meeting hosted by Islamabad.
The discussions on Monday will also include the governments of the US and China.
Javid Faisal, deputy spokesman for Afghan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, said that Pakistan would present a list of Taliban members who are and are not willing to participate in talks with Kabul on ending the 15-year war.
The agreement would also include "bilateral cooperation on eliminating terrorism", Faisal said.
Speaking at the meeting on Monday, Sartaj Aziz, a foreign affairs adviser to Pakistan's prime minister, said: "The primary objective of the reconciliation process is to create conditions to bring the Taliban groups to the negotiation table and offer them incentives that can persuade them to move away from using violence as tool for pursuing political goals."
Aziz said that neither preconditions nor threat of military action should be attached to the start of the negotiation process.
Attempts at peace talks have occurred in the past, but Al Jazeera's Omar al-Saleh, reporting from Kabul, said: "What is different this time is that when the Pakistani army chief [General Raheel Sharif] came to Kabul last month, the two sides [Afghanistan and Pakistan] agreed that this time
Pakistan will use force alongside the Afghan government against any Taliban members who oppose the peace talks."
He identified several factors the parties must be taking into consideration, including what he called "the splinter within the Taliban".
The Olso Times