Pakistan PM in Kabul to discuss peace talks

Negotiations with Taliban tops agenda of meeting between Nawaz Sharif and President Karzai.

    Afghanistan wants Pakistan's help in getting the Taliban to the negotiating table [Reuters]
    Afghanistan wants Pakistan's help in getting the Taliban to the negotiating table [Reuters]

    Pakistan's prime minister is in Afghanistan to discuss efforts to start peace negotiations with Taliban leaders, who have so far refused to have direct contact with the Afghan government.

    Nawaz Sharif arrived on Saturday on his first visit to Kabul since being elected in May. He was expected to hold talks with Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

    Many Taliban leaders are thought to be based in Pakistan, and Karzai has sought Pakistan's help to get them to talk.

    Pakistan said it recently released former Taliban number two Mullah Baradar, who Afghanistan believes to be a key figure to bringing the group to the negotiating table.

    "Sharif is also likely to meet with the High Peace Council here," Al Jazeera's Jane Ferguson reported from Kabul on Saturday, referring to the body of elders who have been gathered together since 2010 to try to push forward peace talks with the Taliban.

    "Those peace talks have been fraught with difficulty ... they have stopped and started over the years.

    "What's likely to be negotiated today is three-way talks between Pakistan, Afghanistan and Baradar, if he wants to take part in this."

    Relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan have been strained. Afghanistan has often accused Pakistan of aiding Taliban leaders taking shelter across the border, and of backing the former Taliban regime in Kabul.

    Sharif and Karzai were also expected to discuss boosting economic ties and collaborating on energy projects to alleviate chronic power shortages in the neighbouring countries.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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