Pakistan’s army chief to visit Afghanistan for Taliban talks

Pakistan’s Army Chief Gen. Raheel Sharif will visit Afghanistan to discuss Taliban talks

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Pakistan's army chief General Raheel Sharif attends the change of command ceremony on November 29, 2013

Pakistan’s military said on Friday that Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif will travel to Afghan capital Kabul on Dec. 27 amid efforts to revive stalled peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban militant group.

According to a statement, the military said Sharif will meet with Afghanistan’s political and military leadership during the day-long visit and the main purpose of the visit would be to fix a date for a second round of peace talks.

“During his day-long visit the army chief will hold meetings with senior political and military leadership of Afghanistan,” the spokesperson for the military’s media wing said in a Twitter message.

The move came two weeks after calls for the resumption of Afghan-Taliban peace negotiations in a regional conference held in Islamabad. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Washington and China envoys attended the conference.

In July, the first direct talks between the Taliban and Kabul hosted by Pakistan were held but the process was halted after Afghanistan revealed that longtime Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar had died in a Pakistani hospital two years earlier.

After the confirmation, the Taliban split into two groups, one following Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour and another Mullah Mohammad Rasoul.

It is unclear which group of Taliban would be on the negotiation table.

TRTWorld and agencies