High-powered Taliban delegation meets Pakistani leadership Today



BY KASWAR KLASRA


ISLAMABAD: The man who lead Taliban in Qatar and signed a ‘peace deal’ with USA has arrived Islamabad along with a high-powered delegation to meet Pakistan’s military and civilian leadership to discuss the ongoing peace process ahead of intra-Afghan dialogue.

The man leading high-powered Taliban delegation is Abdul Ghani Baradar who was the right-hand man of leader Mullah Omar and led many operations for the Taliban until he was captured in 2010.

Arrival of Taliban delegation in Islamabad was confirmed by a spokesperson of Taliban on micro blogging site Twitter.

“A high-level Islamic Emirate [Taliban] delegation led by deputy political chief, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, has left for Pakistan upon the invitation of the country’s Foreign Ministry to discuss the latest on the peace process, state of Afghan refugees in Pakistan, [cross-border] travel of people, and trade between the two neighbors,” Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheensaid in a series of tweets on Sunday night.

The delegation is all set to spend busy day on Monday as meeting with military and civilian leadership have been scheduled already.

Abdul Ghani Baradar, one of Taliban’s co-founders, will lead the delegation in all the meetings delegation is expected to hold in Pakistan. He was the man who led Taliban side to clinch historic peace deal in Qatar in talks with United States which paved the way to end the 17-year war in Afghanistan.

(L to R) US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad and Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar sign a peace agreement during a ceremony in the Qatari capital Doha on February 29, 2020. – The United States signed a landmark deal with the Taliban, laying out a timetable for a full troop withdrawal from Afghanistan within 14 months as it seeks an exit from its longest-ever war. Pompeo called on the Taliban to honour its commitments to sever ties with jihadist groups as Washington signed a landmark deal with the Afghan insurgents. (Photo by KARIM JAAFAR / AFP) (Photo by KARIM JAAFAR/AFP via Getty Images)

In February 2020, the US and the Taliban signed an “agreement for bringing peace” to Afghanistan after more than 18 years of conflict.

The US and NATO allies had agreed to withdraw all troops within 14 months if the militants uphold the deal.

Following the agreement, President Trump said it had been a “long and hard journey” in Afghanistan. “It’s time after all these years to bring our people back home,” he said.

Under the agreement, the militants also agreed not to allow al-Qaeda or any other extremist group to operate in the areas they control.

Pakistan had facilitated the talks and remain engaged with all the stakeholders in Afghanistan pushing all of them to end 17 years war in Afghanistan in the greater interest of people of Afghanistan.

Prime Minister of Pakistan Mr. Imran Khan and Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa have been holding meetings with higher US and Afghanistan authorities to make the deal possible.

After historic peace agreement in Qatar, it’s first time that a high powered delegation from the Afghan Taliban has arrived in Pakistan to discuss the ongoing peace process with the Pakistani leadership ahead of expected intra-Afghan dialogue.

Analysts believe that arrival of high powered Taliban delegation in Pakistan is a sign that Taliban are serious to bring peace and stability in Afghanistan.

“It’s a sign that Taliban are taking peace deal seriously. I can see peace and stability returning to Afghanistan,” Saif Bahadar, an assistant professor of Defense and strategic studies told Islamabad Telegraph.

Earlier in February this year, Mullah Baradar clinched a peace deal for Taliban in Qatar. The deal was signed by US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and Taliban political chief Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as a witness.

In a speech, Mr Pompeo urged the militant group to “keep your promises to cut ties with al-Qaeda”.

Mr Baradar had said he hoped Afghanistan could now emerge from four decades of conflict.

“I hope that with the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Afghanistan the Afghan nation under an Islamic regime will take its relief and embark on a new prosperous life,” he said.

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