Abdullah Abdullah hails Pakistan's role in reconciliation process in Afghanistan

Abdullah Abdullah hails Pakistan's role in reconciliation process in Afghanistan

The Afghan Taliban says its representatives have met with US officials in the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) as efforts intensify to negotiate an end to Afghanistan's 17-year war.

The Taliban on Monday said that they were holding "another" meeting with the US officials in the UAE, which also include representatives of Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and the UAE.

Since taking office in September, the Afghan-born US special envoy has held two meetings with the Taliban in Qatar, where the insurgent group operates its so-called "political office".

Although the Afghan government has not taken part directly in the talks, a team from Kabul met United States and Saudi officials in the UAE on Sunday, President Ashraf Ghani's national security adviser, Hamdullah Mohib, said.

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He said that the Afghan government hopes that Pakistan and China will cooperate with Afghanistan's peace process and that now the time has come to show practical support.

He last visited Afghanistan in September when he held talks with the Afghan leadership over the country's peace process.

The special representative for Afghan reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, is leading the USA team at the talks, a senior Pakistani official privy to the development confirmed to VOA on Sunday. According to Saba news, the next round of talks will be held in Dubai.

Recently, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, while speaking in the northwestern city of Peshawar, explained his country has agreed to assist in Afghan peace efforts because Washington has changed its position by requesting help, instead of saying Islamabad is not doing enough, as USA leaders have previously insisted.

China and Pakistan supported Afghanistan to make itself a regional pivot by giving a full play of its geographical advantages and to benefit from regional cooperative projects including the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, he noted.

Western diplomats said the decision to move the venue of the talks from Doha to the UAE underscored efforts to involve Saudi Arabia, which is hostile to Qatar, more closely in the process and to exert influence on its ally, Pakistan. "Cooperation between Afghanistan, Pakistan and China is import to bring peace in Afghanistan".

"Recreating this missed opportunity almost two decades later will prove hard", Weinstein told VOA.

Wang met Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Salahuddin Rabbani, his Pakistani and Afghan counterparts respectively, as the three sides agreed to use the existing dialogue mechanism to enhance coordination and promote cooperation, Hua said.

Relations between Washington and Islamabad have always been strained over accusations that Pakistan supports insurgent groups in Afghanistan, a charge it denies.

Senior members of the Taliban in Afghanistan said the talks would continue for three days.

In one of the America's longest war, the USA has spent over $1 trillion in Afghanistan since the coalition forces ousted the Taliban in 2001. The Taliban instead has expanded its insurgent activities and now controls or hotly contests about half of Afghanistan.

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