Afghan Peace Talks to Resume at Behest of Pakistan That ‘Holds Certain Sway’ Over Taliban – Analyst

Opinion

In a recent development in the Afghanistan conflict, a Taliban delegation reportedly met with the US special representative for Afghanistan in Pakistan’s capital of Islamabad on Thursday, spawning discussion over whether the suspended peace talks will enjoy a fresh start.

Hardly had Pakistan and the Taliban agreed to resume the Afghanistan peace process with the US, which was put on hold after the death of a US soldier in a Kabul attack, when media reports emerged of a US representative meeting the group to negotiate Afghan reconciliation.

According to Hasan Abdullah, a political analyst and expert on Islamic militancy, Pakistan has long been considered a possible mediator, as it has maintained close ties with the Taliban. “Pakistan believes that there cannot be a purely military solution and the Taliban have to be part of the process in Afghanistan”, the analyst says.

He suggests, that many in Washington have come to believe that Pakistan is the only regional actor with enormous leverage over the Taliban, arguing that it “holds certain sway” over the group. Meanwhile, the Taliban apparently thinks that a good relationship with Pakistan lends it “a degree of edge and legitimacy”, Abdullah details.

In a bid to obtain a strategic “edge against the US”, the group has been going to great lengths to garner maximum possible support from a variety of countries, apparently assuming that those countries may have…

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