(Voice of America / globalsecurity.org – By Ayaz Gul) – Afghanistan, Pakistan Leaders to Hold Icebreaking Talks in Paris

Leaders of Afghanistan and Pakistan are expected to hold an “icebreaking” meeting on the margins of the U.N. climate change summit that starts Monday in Paris. Pakistani officials and a group of senior Pashtun nationalist leaders, who returned Sunday from Afghanistan, told VOA that Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has agreed to meet with Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Paris, breaking a deadlock in relations.

The two sides are expected to discuss ways to ease bilateral tensions and jointly work for the resumption of stalled peace talks between the Afghan government and Taliban officials, they added. “The meting is likely in Paris on the margins of [the] climate change conference,” Pakistani foreign ministry spokesman Qazi Khalilullah told VOA.

Pakistan negotiated and hosted a single groundbreaking meeting between Taliban and Afghan delegates in July in an effort to help bring an end to the 14-old conflict in Afghanistan. But the nascent peace process was disrupted when it was revealed days later that reclusive, longtime Taliban leader Mullah Omar had died two years ago.

Since then, the insurgent group has increased attacks across Afghanistan, and Afghan leaders, including Ghani, increasingly blame Pakistan for being behind the violence, charges Islamabad rejects.” (…)


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