Afghan delegates in Pakistan for direct talks with Taliban
Iran Press TV
Tue Jul 7, 2015 3:30PM
An Afghan government delegation has arrived in Pakistan to hold direct talks with representatives of the Taliban militant group.
A statement posted on Afghan President Ashraf Ghani's official Twitter account on Tuesday confirmed that delegates of the government's High Peace Council are in Pakistan for the talks.
Meanwhile, Sayed Zafar Hashemi, Ghani's deputy spokesman, said the delegation is being led by deputy foreign minister Hekmat Khalil Karzai.
Sources say the meeting could be a step toward opening further talks to end the decades-long conflict in Afghanistan.
Pakistani media reports had earlier indicated that Pakistani negotiators have been persuading the Taliban leadership to embark on peace talks with the Afghan government and the US.
Tensions have also been rising between the two neighbors in recent months.
The Afghan government blames elements inside the Pakistani spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) for supporting the Taliban militants, while Islamabad blames the Afghan government for giving shelter to militants on its side of the border.
The planned meeting would be the latest face-to-face talks between senior Afghan government officials and Taliban in 2015.
The Afghan government has already held talks with the Taliban militant group in the Qatar and Norway.
In June 2013, the Taliban opened an office in Doha, but closed it a month later. However, the Taliban office was reopened again in February 2015.
Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai established the High Peace Council in an attempt to negotiate peace with the Taliban. Previous efforts by the Afghan government to reach a deal with Taliban militants turned out to be fruitless.
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