Afghanistan, China, Pakistan, US try to restart Afghan peace talks

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KABUL (TCA) — Officials from Afghanistan, China, Pakistan, and the United States — members of the four-nation Quadrilateral Coordination Group — met in Oman on October 16 to try to find ways of reviving Afghanistan peace talks with the Taliban, RFE/RL’s Afghan Service reported.

Taliban sources have said they would stay away from the discussions in Oman, casting doubt on prospects for reviving the long-stalled negotiations.

Pakistani officials said the talks had resumed on Pakistan’s initiative. The Pakistani team was led by Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua.

The Afghan team, led by Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Khalil Karzai, said the talks would focus on relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan and implementing Pakistan’s commitments to fight terrorism.

In Washington, a State Department official confirmed the meeting on October 16 took place, but declined to provide any details.

The four-nation Quadrilateral Coordination Group, which last met in Islamabad in early 2016, has been trying to open a path to direct talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban, with little success.

The United States wants Pakistan, which it accuses of harboring Afghan Taliban commanders, to exert more influence on the militants to bring them to the negotiating table.

Pakistani officials deny sheltering Taliban militants and say their influence on the group has waned.

The first Quadrilateral Group meeting was held on the sidelines of Heart of Asia Summit in 2015 and following that, four other meetings were held in Kabul and Islamabad.

Sergey Kwan

TCA