Pakistan supports ‘transparent’ Afghan peace process: ISPR

RAWALPINDI: Following recent reports regarding likely peace talks between United States officials and Afghan Taliban, a spokesman of Pakistan Army said Thursday Pakistan always supported such process, re-emphasising it to be ‘absolutely transparent, Afghan owned and Afghan led’.

A statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) here said that reconciliation between Afghan government and Afghan Taliban to bring lasting peace and stability in the neighbouring country always comes up during any meeting related to Afghanistan.

“While onus for such negotiations to succeed lies on both parties concerned, Pakistan in all sincerity will support the process, as peace in Afghanistan will contribute to peace in the region,” said the statement.

“We hope all stakeholders will continue to act with responsibility not to allow detractors of peace to succeed,” it added.

The statement comes after sources within the Afghan Taliban said earlier in the day that their negotiators would hold the first round of peace talks with US officials in Qatar later in the day.

The Taliban opened an office in the Qatari capital Doha in June 2013, aimed at talking to the US ahead of withdrawal of most American troops the following year.

White House denies Doha meeting

The White House, however, denied reports that US officials planned to meet with the Taliban on Thursday, a spokeswoman said.

“The United States currently has no meetings with the Taliban scheduled in Doha,” said Bernadette Meehan, a spokeswoman for the White House´s National Security Council.

“We remain supportive of an Afghan-led reconciliation process whereby the Taliban and the Afghans engage in talks toward a settlement to resolve the conflict in Afghanistan.” – Reuters

Afghan Taliban also deny talks with US in Qatar

Meanwhile, central spokesman of Afghan Taliban Zabihullah Mujahid also denied reports that their negotiators were planned to meet with the US officials in Doha later on today.

“We do not have any plans for negotiations with anyone in Qatar. Regarding the negotiations, there is no new changes in the policy of Islamic Emirates of Afghanistan,” Mujahid said in a statement.