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Govt-Taliban’s direct talks soon: Report

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AT Monitoring Desk-KABUL: A number of Pakistani media outlets on Wednesday reported that the Afghan government and the Taliban militants would soon hold direct talks after back channel efforts.

Pakistan’s Express Tribune quoted a number of unnamed officials as saying that this would be the first time that the two sides hold face-to-face talks.

“The two sides were in contact with each other for some time but this is the first time they will sit across the table to discuss the future of Afghanistan”, the source said.

The report has not mentioned any details about location of the talks.

The Pakistani media outlet also quoted other sources in the report which said that the upcoming days were very crucial and that a breakthrough had to be achieved before the Taliban’s spring offensive kicks off.

“The next few days are very crucial. It is a make-or-break situation,” said source said. “All sides are very much aware of the fact that the breakthrough has to be achieved before the Taliban’s spring offensive,” the report said.

One another quote is then giving little details about the upcoming talks. It says that the 1st round of the discussion will be focusing on a ceasefire.

“The first round of talks will focus on striking a deal on a ceasefire,” the quote from unnamed source reads.

According to the Express Tribune, Daniel F Feldman, Barack Obama’s special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan has also talked to Pakistan’s Army Chief General Raheel Sharif about the Afghan peace process and praised Pakistan’s role in it.

The report has quoted an unnamed source as saying that the US is not the part of the upcoming talks.

“Although the US will not be part of the upcoming talks, it has fully backed the fresh moves for the political solution”, the source added.

Few days back, Afghanistan’s Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah told a cabinet meeting that peace talks with the Taliban would start soon. Since recent months there have been hot discussions that representatives of the government of Afghanistan and Taliban are finding ways to reach a peace deal with Pakistan playing the main role of bringing Taliban to the table of discussion.

However, the Senate chairman, Fazl Hadi Muslimyar, said that looking at the previous background of Pakistan supporting insurgent groups in Afghanistan, he doubts the honesty of Pakistan in the peace process. He added that Pakistan might bring the Taliban to the table of negotiation but it might continue  insurgency in the country through other militant groups.