KARACHI, Pakistan – (AA) After the first round of direct peace talks between the Afghan government and Taliban was completed in Pakistan, the two sides have agreed to continue negotiating after Ramadan.
A statement issued by Pakistan’s foreign office on Wednesday said the talks took place the night before in the Murree hill station tourist resort near the capital Islamabad.
A Pakistani foreign office official told Anadolu Agency that there had been further talks scheduled for Wednesday but both sides agreed to a postponement in order to consult with their respective leaderships.
The official also said the Afghan delegation was led by deputy foreign minister Hikmat Khalil Karzai and the Taliban delegation was led by Mullah Jalil, a former deputy foreign minister during the Taliban regime of the 1990s. Representatives from China and the U.S. also attended.
The Taliban’s spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid would not make any official statement on the meet but Pakistan’s foreign office stated both sides were “duly mandated by their respective leadership and expressed their collective desire to bring peace to Afghanistan and the region.”
According to a Pakistani official, the two-hour long “introductory” round of talks revolved around the Taliban’s key demand for a complete withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan.
The Afghan delegation and Chinese and U.S. representatives responded with proposed timeframes for the withdrawal of the remaining 12,500 NATO troops, who officially remain in an advisory role.
He added however that the Taliban would not immediately react to the proposals until it had discussed them with its leadership.
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