The Afghan government and the Taliban are reportedly preparing to hold face-to-face talks in the next few days as a result of efforts by Pakistan and other stakeholders, Pakistani media reported on Wednesday.
The Express Tribune reported the two sides had been in contact but it was the first time that they would sit across the negotiating table to discuss the future of Afghanistan.
It report added Daniel Feldman, the US special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, on Tuesday held crucial talks with Pakistan Army chief Gen. Raheel Sharif in Rawalpindi and “appreciated Islamabad's positive role in bringing peace and stability to Afghanistan.”
The U.S would not be part of the upcoming talks, but it has fully backed the fresh moves for the political solution, said the report.
The report added that efforts were being made to arrange the talks in Kabul in an effort to show that the process is Afghan-led and Afghan-owned. “All sides are very much aware of the fact that the breakthrough has to be achieved before the Taliban’s spring offensive.”
The reported added: “The first round of talks will focus on striking a deal on a ceasefire,” said the source.
Prime Minister’s Adviser on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz also confirmed on Tuesday that the Afghan government and the Taliban were holding negotiations.
He informed Pakistan’s Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs that both sides had already formed committees to pursue the peace talks. Az
iz clarified there were no talks taking place between the Afghan Taliban and the US.