Islamabad: Pakistan suggested to the Afghan government on Thursday to formally invite the Taliban for peace negotiations. The comments came amid reports that Taliban political representatives in Qatar are exploring options for possible talks with the Afghan sides and foreign stakeholders, Xinhua news agency reported.
"The most apt way to move forward in this regard is serious talks between the Afghan government and Taliban. For this, the Afghan government needs to send positive signals to the Taliban inviting them to join the peace process along with necessary incentives," Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesman Nafees Zakaria said.
"In our view, an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led process is the best way and not the military option," the spokesman told his weekly briefing. Pakistan had facilitated peace talks between the Afghan government and Taliban in July 2015 in the scenic town of Murree near Islamabad.
However, the breaking of news of death of the Taliban supreme leader Mullah Omer led to suspension of the talks. "We continued our efforts and remained actively engaged in serious efforts through the QCG (Quadrilateral Coordination Group) earlier this year. Again, the killing of Mullah Akhtar Mansoor (in a US drone strike) scuttled the process," Zakaria said.
He said Pakistan has repeatedly emphasised the need for a politically negotiated settlement between the Afghan government and Taliban and has continuously endeavoured towards this goal.