Afghanistan peace meeting urges direct talks with Taliban
Iran Press TV
Sat Feb 6, 2016 4:41PM
Representatives from Pakistan, Afghanistan, China and the United States have concluded their talks aimed at drawing up a roadmap for putting an end to the Afghan war with a call for direct negotiations between the Kabul government and the Taliban militant group by the end of February.
The Afghan peace talks, which are part of the latest efforts to finalize a peace plan in Afghanistan, opened in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad on Saturday and concluded later in the day.
In a statement issued at the end of the talks, the participants said they agreed on a roadmap for peace but provided no further details.
'The Group stressed that the outcome of the reconciliation process should be a political settlement that results in the cessation of violence, and durable peace in Afghanistan,' the statement said.
They also emphasized that the Taliban, who did not participate in the meeting, should join the fourth round of the peace talks which will be held in the Afghan capital, Kabul, on February 23.
'Towards this end, the QCG (Quadrilateral Coordination Group) countries agreed to continue joint efforts for setting a date for direct peace talks between the representatives of the Afghan government and Taliban groups expected to take place by the end of February 2016.'
Pakistan mediated the first round of the peace talks between delegates from the Afghan government and the Taliban last summer, but a planned second meeting was canceled after news broke that Taliban's founder and long-time leader Mullah Omar had died two years ago.
There have also been growing differences among Taliban elements over the negotiations, with some vowing to fight for power instead of taking part in the talks.
Afghanistan is gripped by insecurity more than 14 years after the United States and its allies attacked the country in 2001 as part of Washington's so-called war on terror.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|