Islamabad, Kabul, Washington upbeat at Afghan peace process

Islamabad, Jan 21 (IANS) US Vice President Joe Biden, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Thursday expressed satisfaction at the recently-launched four-nation mechanism to boost the peace process in Afghanistan.

The quadrilateral mechanism of Afghanistan, China, Pakistan and the US is now discussing a roadmap to restart the peace negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban groups.

Senior officials of the four countries are scheduled to hold the next round of talks in Islamabad on February 6, following two rounds of talks held earlier this month in Islamabad and Kabul.

US, Pakistani and Afghan leaders met in Geneva on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum and deliberated upon the four-way process.

“All the leaders expressed satisfaction at the two meetings of the quadrilateral consultative groups held in Kabul and Islamabad, ” the prime ministers office in Islamabad said.

“They agreed to keep focus on the goal of ensuring peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan which was both in the interest of Afghanistan and the region,” an official statement said.

US and Afghan leaders also condemned the attack on a Pakistani university that killed 21 students, teachers and security guards on Wednesday and conveyed their sorrow and grief over the incident.

“Both the leaders appreciated the resolve of Pakistani nation in its war against terrorism and extremism,” the statement said.

The four-way process is seen important in view of the formal participation of the US and China, the two important countries which can play key role to push the peace process forward.

The Taliban have not formally shown reaction to the process however, with their unofficial websites and online media opposing the process.

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