Taliban delegation off to Pakistan amid stalled peace talks


KABUL: At the head of a high-level delegation, Taliban Co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar has left for Pakistan at the invitation of the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a statement from the insurgent group said on Sunday. The move comes as Pakistan recently slapped curbs on key Taliban figures, specifically Baradar.

Spokesman for Taliban’s Qatar Office, Suhail Shaheen, wrote on his Twitter handle that the delegation would hold talks with senior Pakistani officials on the latest developments in the Afghan peace process, Afghan refugees in the country, bilateral facilitation of public movement and trade, and other related issues.

“The Islamic Emirate, in accordance with its political policy, travels from time to time in order to establish positive relations with regional and international countries, and to convey its views and position to the world in the peace process,” he added.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the insurgent group’s foreign forays were delayed for a while but that series had started again and Taliban delegations would travel to other countries in the near future, the statement concluded.

This comes hard on the heels of recent financial sanctions imposed by the Pakistani government against the Taliban. The sweeping curbs specifically identified the Taliban’s chief peace negotiator Baradar and several members of the Haqqani family.

Meanwhile, Suhail Shaheen had earlier said that the financial sanctions had been in place for some time, adding that any tightening of a ban on travel could hurt peace negotiations, which have been postponed until an indefinite period due to differences over prisoner release.