Pakistan puts severe pressure on Afghan Taliban

Pakistan puts severe pressure on Afghan Taliban

ISLAMABAD - Afghan Taliban’s hard line statement of withdrawing from peace talks coincided with the arrival of the US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, from his third multi-nation trip on Afghan peace in Kabul, where he briefed senior Afghan officials about his discussions with regional countries aimed at seeking regional support for ending the 17-long conflict in the war-ravaged country.

“In the meeting which took place last night, Dr Zalmay Khalilzad gave a briefing about his trip to the regional countries including India, China and United Arab Emirates. He described his trip to the region to create regional consensus about the start of the peace process,” said Samim Arif, deputy spokesman to President Ashraf Ghani.

Political analysts meanwhile viewed Taliban’s fresh conditions and pressure from different angles.

“The Taliban in that meeting (Abu Dhabi meeting which took place in December) had said that they will hold consultations with their leaders that no threat will be posed from Afghanistan against other countries. Khalilzad also said that he will hold consultations with the Americans and will seek their (US) agreement about their withdrawal from Afghanistan. But at the Abu Dhabi meeting they (US) raised the issue of a six months' truce and changed the agenda of the meeting,” said Sayed Akbar Agha, leader of Leader of Jaish-al Muslimeen faction of the Taliban.

“Khalilzad was expected to visit Pakistan and the Taliban were supposed to meet Khalilzad under Pakistani pressure, but the Taliban rejected it,” said political analyst, Nazar Mohammad Mutmaeen.

Close aides to the Taliban have said that the detention of Hafez Mohibullah in the Pakistani city of Peshwar was also an attempt to put pressure on the Taliban amid the peace talks.

Mohibullah served as religious affairs minister when the Taliban were ruling Afghanistan before 2001. But there was no immediate response from authorities in Pakistan about the detention.