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Pakistan ‘Assures’ Afghan Minister Talks with Taliban to Resume in a Month

Pakistan has assured neighboring Afghanistan that peace talks with the Taliban “will resume in a month” to find a peaceful end to the Afghan conflict.

Visiting Afghan Minister for Refugees and Repatriation Sayed Hussain Alemi Balkhi, after a meeting with Pakistani foreign policy chief Sartaj Aziz, appeared upbeat about prospects of peace talks with the anti-government forces.

he Afghan minister says that Aziz “assured him the (Afghan) peace process will resume in about a month” and it will encourage nearly three million Afghans living in Pakistan as refugees and economic migrants to return to Afghanistan.

Taliban leaders are believed to be sheltering and allegedly directing insurgent attacks from sanctuaries in Pakistan.

Afghan officials have been urging Islamabad to bring those leaders to the negotiating table. Islamabad admits having “limited” influence over some insurgent groups but says it has no control over Taliban activities inside Afghanistan.

An initial round of peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban was expected to be hosted by Pakistan in early March but the insurgent group refused to attend in a last-minute announcement.

Return of Afghan refugees

Mr. Balkhi says that it was evolving an “effective policy” for the return of these refugees.

The issue of the return of these refugees came up during discussions between the visiting Afghan Minister for Refugees and Repatriation Sayed Hussain Alemi Balkhi and Pakistan’s  Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz at the Foreign Office.

The two sides discussed matters related to early and dignified repatriation of Afghan refugees to their homeland through mutual cooperation as well as engagement with the international community.

The Afghan minister expressed profound gratitude and appreciation for Pakistan in hosting millions of Afghan refugees for more than three decades. He apprised the Pakistan side that Afghan government was evolving an effective policy for early repatriation and sustainable resettlement of Afghan refugees in Afghanistan.

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