ISLAMABAD: Army chief was in the United States Monday amid pressure to nudge Taliban rebels in Afghanistan to revive stalled peace talks with the Kabul administration, officials said. Pakistan-hosted talks in July broke off just before a scheduled second round, after news broke that Taliban chief Mullah Omar had been dead two years.
During his five-day US trip, General Raheel Sharif will meet key defence and civilian officials, military spokesman Lieutenant General Asim Saleem Bjawa said.
“Pakistan is under pressure with regard to Afghanistan. The issue will be on top of the agenda,” a security official told dpa, speaking on condition of anonymity. Relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan have been strained over the insurgency.
Some Pakistani security agencies have historical ties to some of the Taliban factions active in Afghanistan. Kabul blames its neighbour for indulging the insurgents based in Pakistan who launch strikes across the border.
But Islamabad’s influence is also seen as a possible asset, if used to push the militants back to the negotiating table. After Omar’s death was announced, the Taliban saw an internal struggle over the appointment of his successor Mullah Mansoor. Now Mansoor has strengthened his grip on power, analysts say he is better able to re-enter peace talks.
Source: Business Recorder