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Pakistan urges Taliban to rejoin Afghan peace process ahead of Istanbul conference

ANI | Updated: Apr 28, 2021 23:28 IST

Islamabad [Pakistan], April 28 (ANI): Ahead of the Istanbul conference on Afghanistan slated for next month, Pakistan is putting efforts to convince the Taliban for rejoining the peace process otherwise the Taliban may face tough actions from Islamabad.
This comes after the Afghan peace conference scheduled for April 24 was postponed to May 4 amid the Taliban's refusal to attend the UN-backed meet. The conference was meant to fast-track the peace process but new administration in Washington changed the withdrawal date of US troops from May 1 to September 11, Dawn reported.
Hamid Mir, Pakistani journalist and columnist in an opinion piece for the Dawn said, "Top Pakistani security officials have approached Afghan Taliban leadership in Doha and made it very clear to them that their refusal to participate in Istanbul Conference was a big blow to the Afghan peace process and if they will not show some flexibility they will face consequences."

Last week, Afghanistan State Minister for Peace Sayed Sadat Mansoor Naderi blamed the Taliban for the postponement of the Istanbul conference on Afghan peace which was slated to take place later this month.
"Afghanistan side is prepared and has a will for the peace, but there is no intention of peace from the Taliban side", Naderi was quoted as saying by Khaama Press.
"Turkey, Qatar and the United Nations had planned to co-convene a high-level conference in Istanbul, from 24 April to 4 May 2021, with the participation of the representatives of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban to add momentum to the negotiations that started in Doha last September to achieve a just and lasting peace in Afghanistan," Turkish Foreign Ministry had said.
Earlier this month, US President Joe Biden had said that the United States will start its final withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan on May 1 and complete its pullout ahead of the 20th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Meanwhile, Kabul has backed Washington's decision to withdraw forces from Afghanistan by September this year. (ANI)