HPC blames Pakistan for failure of Taliban peace talks

Kabul [Afghanistan], Jan. 16 : Afghanistan's High Peace Council (HPC) has slammed Pakistan for its controversial role in the Afghan peace process, saying Islamabad has been the key obstruction in the way of purposeful peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban militant group.

"The Taliban leadership live on that side of that border and operate under the control of Pakistani intelligence officials, this has made it difficult to establish direct contact with them," Tolo News quoted said HPC Advisor Mohammad Ismail Qasimyar as saying on Sunday.

He said that the government must reach an outcome with Pakistan over peace talks with the Taliban. It is believed that no direct contact has happened between the government and the Taliban over the past two years.

Meanwhile, Office of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Abdullah Abdullah has said that the Taliban leadership has never responded positively to the Afghan peace negotiation offer, adding that such a negative approach by the group will lead to its complete elimination.

"They (Taliban ) rejected the call for peace and they must be eliminated," said deputy CEO spokesman Omid Maisam.

According to the HPC, with the death of Taliban's founding leader Mullah Mohammad Omar, hopes for sealing a groundbreaking peace deal with the insurgency also vanished and since then, no direct talks between the two sides has taken place.

But analysts argue that the HPC which facilitates the peace process between the sides is also split when it comes to the issue of peace with the Taliban, referring to recent remarks by Abdul Hakim Mujahid, an advisor to the High Peace Council in which he said that the Taliban were angels of peace and the group is a sacred group.

The National Unity Government (NUG) under President Ashraf Ghani and his CEO Abdullah Abdullah held the first formal round of peace negotiation talks with the Taliban in 2015 in the Pakistani city of Murree with the participation of Chinese and American delegates.

At Murreee, the two sides agreed to continue their negotiations for the political settlement of the conflict in the country.

But following the death of Mullah Omar, bilateral relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan also soured.

Source: ANI