Efforts on for Afghan government and Taliban talks, says Pakistan

Islamabad, March 17 (IANS) Pakistan said on Thursday that efforts are on for direct talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban to achieve peace and stability in the region.

The statement came two weeks after the Taliban refused to join the peace negotiations. Hizb-e-Islami Afghanistan, the second largest resistance group has, however, announced it will take part in the talks.

The quadrilateral group of Afghanistan, China, Pakistan and the US invited the Taliban and other armed groups to join the talks by the first week of March. Pakistan offered to host the talks.

“Efforts by the QCG (Quadrilateral Coordination Group) countries are continuing for holding the talks between Afghan government and the Taliban,” Pakistan Foreign Ministry spokesman Nafees Zakria said.

“It is a shared responsibility of all the four countries which are part of the QCG. At this stage I can only say that efforts are on and all the four countries are making their own efforts in their own domains to bring the Taliban groups as well as other groups to the negotiation table for direct talks between Afghan government and the groups invited for the talks,” Zakria said at his weekly briefing.

The spokesman said Pakistan believes that an inclusive Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace process is indispensable for peace and stability in the region.

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