Pakistan willing to help Taliban reintegration process


Pakistan’s foreign minister says his country welcomes Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s request for help on reconciling with the Taliban.

Talking to reporters after the Afghanistan Conference in London, Shah Mahmoud Qureshi said, Pakistan wants the reconciliation progress “to be Afghan-led and Afghan-owned, and if the Afghan government so desires, we are willing to facilitate.”

At the London conference on Thursday, the Afghan government invited Taliban militants to a peace council of elders as part of efforts to find a way out of the conflict.

As leaders and ministers from around 70 nations convened in London to discuss Afghanistan, United Nations officials said members of the Taliban’s leadership council had secretly met UN Special Representative Kai Eide in Dubai on January 8, to discuss the prospects of laying down their arms, Reuters reported.

Despite intense speculation over whether senior members of the Taliban might join a future Afghan government, Qureshi said that inevitably there would be some hardline members of the Taliban that will not want to be brought back into the fold.

“You will only be engaged with those who are willing to talk and are willing to accept, for example, the Afghan constitution, those who do not want to come to the mainstream line, you can’t force them in,” Qureshi said.

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