Pakistan Opposes Preconditions for Talks with Afghan Taliban

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Pakistan on Monday opposed preconditions in talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban and suggested incentives to encourage the insurgents to come to the negotiations table.

Pakistan Opposes Preconditions for Talks with Afghan Taliban

Sartaj Aziz, Pakistan's foreign affairs adviser, floated the proposal in his speech at the opening session of the four-nation talks to explore ways for promoting reconciliation process in Afghanistan.

The quadrilateral process involving Afghanistan, China, Pakistan and the US was launched during a meeting of the four countries on the sidelines of the Heart of Asia Conference held in Islamabad last month.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif were present in that meeting, which was also attended by senior officials of China and the US.

"The primary objective of the reconciliation process is to create conditions to bring the Taliban groups to the negotiation table and offer them incentives in order to persuade them to move away from using violence as a tool for pursuing political goals," Sartaj Aziz said, Xinhua reported.

"It is, therefore, important that pre-conditions are not attached to the start of the negotiation process. This, in our view, will be counterproductive,"the Pakistani adviser said.

The participants would share ideas to end the deadlock in the Pakistan-brokered talks between Kabul and the Taliban.

The first ever direct talks between representatives of the Afghan government and the Taliban were held in Pakistan in early July but the process was scuttled after the death of Mullah Omar was confirmed. China and the US had attended the talks as observers but now they are part of the quadrilateral process.

Aziz defended political solution to the problem and that reconciliation through a politically negotiated settlement is an arduous and complex task. He said proper sequencing of actions and measures in the process would be significant in paving the way for direct talks with Taliban groups.

The Taliban have not officially commented on the four-nation talks, however, its media section quoted named Taliban leaders as saying that they would not hold talks with the Afghan government.

The Taliban leaders said they want talks with the US first to talk about an end to the invasion, removal of restrictions from their top leaders and release of Taliban detainees under the US custody.

Deputy Foreign Minister of Afghanistan, Hekmat Khalil Karzai, is representing a five-member delegation in the first meeting of the Quadrilateral Coordination Committee.

Chinese special envoy for Afghanistan, Deng Xijun, the US special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Olsan and Pakistan Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry are leading their delegations.

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