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Senior Taliban Leaders in Talks With Officials in Pakistan

The high-level Afghan Taliban delegation currently in Islamabad meets with  the Pakistani leadership. The leaders were  received by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Thursday morning.

During their meeting with the foreign minister, the delegation of the Taliban Political Commission (TPC) in Doha discussed the regional situation, the Afghan peace process and other issues of mutual interest.

Inter-Services Intelligence Director General Lt Gen Faiz Hameed, Foreign Affairs Secretary Sohail Mahmood and other FO officials were present for the meeting.

“Both countries are equally facing the consequences of instability in Afghanistan over the past 40 years,” Qureshi was reported as telling the delegation. He also said that Pakistan understands that war is not the solution to any problem.

Qureshi said that in order to establish peace in Afghanistan, negotiations were the only possible and “positive” option.

Shaheen, the Taliban’s Doha-based spokesman, told a news agency  that simultaneous visits to Pakistan of US peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and the Taliban were a “coincidence”.

But when asked whether there was any possibility of the insurgents meeting with Khalilzad, he replied: “Why not? It depends on the Americans.”

A US official, who spoke to AP on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media, said Khalilzad was not in Islamabad to resume the peace process.

Rather, the US peace envoy will follow up on discussions he held with Pakistani leaders, including Prime Minister Imran Khan, during the UN General Assembly session in New York.

It wasn’t immediately known if Khalilzad will meet with Taliban leader Baradar. The two men held several one-on-one meetings during the many rounds of negotiations held in Qatar, where the Taliban maintain a political office.

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