Afghan officials in Pakistan to negotiate peace with Taliban

Islamabad : Officials belonging to the Afghanistan Peace and Reintegration Programme, appointed by former president Hamid Karzai to negotiate peace with the Taliban, are in Islamabad for talks with the militants, a media report said on Tuesday.

“A delegation from the High Peace Council of Afghanistan has traveled to Pakistan for negotiations with the Taliban,” the Dawn reported citing a post on Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s official Twitter account.

Ghani’s deputy spokesperson Sayed Zafar Hashemi said the delegation was being led by Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Khalil Karzai.

Informal meetings between the militant group and Afghan officials have taken place in the past, but official efforts to reopen peace negotiations have so far borne little fruit, the daily said.

The Taliban’s proposal for formal talks have several hardline preconditions. They also demand the complete departure of foreign troops from Afghanistan.

NATO withdrew its troops from Afghanistan in December last year, but a smaller force has stayed on for training and counter-terrorism operations.

Even as efforts are being made to negotiate a peace deal, hundreds of people have been killed across Afghanistan since the militant group launched its so-called annual spring offensive on April 24 this year.