Pakistan, Afghanistan working on 'package deal' to lure Taliban into talks
Pakistan and Afghanistan are working on a reconciliation "package deal" to be offered to the Afghan Taliban in a bid to bring a peaceful end to the decade-long conflict in the war-ravaged country.
According to officials, talks between members of the Afghan High Peace Council, led by Chairman Salahuddin Rabbani, and Pakistan's top political and military leadership focused on how to persuade insurgents to enter peace talks, reports The Express Tribune.
On the second day of his maiden trip, Rabbani held separate meetings with President Asif Ali Zardari and Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.
According to a senior Foreign Ministry official, the Afghan side acknowledged that the apparent deadlock in the reconciliation process was linked to the "lack of an incentive package" for the Taliban, who are willing to enter into the negotiations.
He added that Pakistan conveyed to the Afghan delegation that unless the Taliban were offered incentives, the peace process won't achieve the desired results.
However, the official said Pakistan and Afghanistan were now exploring several options which would hopefully pave the way for a "clear roadmap" to end the impasse.
In a statement issued by the Presidency, Zardari assured the delegation that Pakistan would continue to extend every possible support to bring peace in Afghanistan.
Rabbani, meanwhile, sought help from Pakistan's religious leaders in encouraging the Afghan Taliban, Hezb-e-Islami and other resistance groups to join the reconciliation process, former Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) chief Qazi Hussain Ahmed said.
"Rabbani wants Pakistani leaders to use their influence to push forward the peace process and intra-Afghan dialogue. I told them that we will discuss his (Rabbani's) proposals with other Pakistani religious and political leaders before reaching a consensus on any role," Qazi said.
Rabbani also met with JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, who is believed to have influence on the Afghan Taliban.