Islamabad: The first officially acknowledged peace talks between the Afghan Taliban and the government in Kabul concluded with an agreement to meet again after Ramazan, Pakistan’s Foreign Office said on Wednesday.
“The next meeting will be held at a mutually convenient date after Ramazan,” a Foreign Office spokesperson told local media .
The Pakistani government hosted the talks in Murree on Tuesday marking the first time the two came face-to-face ever since President Ashraf Ghani assumed office in September last year.
Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Khalil Karzai led a four-member delegation that includes representatives of the High Peace Council and advisers to the Afghan president and the chief executive.
A three-member Taliban team took part in the talks. However, as of now, all sides are silent over the names and positions of the participants from the Taliban side.
The Taliban have not yet commented on the talks and the group’s spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said he is unaware of any talks.
Sources say a statement by the Taliban is expected later on Wednesday. It is unclear if the Taliban’s Qatar office was involved in the process. The Taliban had previously disowned all talks held without the involvement of their political office.
The Pakistani Foreign Office referred to them as ‘Tehreek-e-Taliban Afghanistan’, a term that has not been heard before, while they like to call themselves ‘Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’.
Earlier, Pakistan officially confirmed it hosted the talks hours after the Taliban and Afghan government met in Murree.
“As part of the commitment to facilitate an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process, a meeting was hosted by Pakistan between the Afghan Government and Tehreek-e-Taliban Afghanistan representatives,” a Foreign Ministry statement said.
The meeting was held in Murree on July 7 in which representatives of China and the USA also participated.
“The participants were duly mandated by their respective leadership and expressed their collective desire to bring peace to Afghanistan and the region,” the statement claimed.
It said the participants exchanged views on ways to bring peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan, adding it was agreed that for lasting peace in the region, each side would approach the process in sincerity and with full commitment.
“The participants recognised the need to develop confidence building measures to engender trust among all stakeholders.”
The Foreign Office expressed its gratitude to the Afghan government and the Taliban for their efforts as well.
“We also thank other partners in peace, including the United Nations, for their contribution to peace, stability and development of Afghanistan.”