ISLAMABAD - A delegation of Afghan High Peace Council would soon visit Pakistan to meet Taliban leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar in a renewed push for broad-based reconciliation to end the long drawn conflict.
Sources in the Foreign Office said that there was no confirmation from Kabul so far about the visit of Afghan negotiators seeking peace with Taliban. But on the other hand credible diplomatic sources said that the Afghan delegation would visit Pakistan next month.
They were of the view that since Afghan government was currently preoccupied with preparations to convene Loya Jirga, therefore, the visit might not be possible this month.
The proposed Afghan grand jirga is expected to commence from November 21 in Kabul to decide the fate of proposed US-Afghan Bilateral Security Treaty to provide legal base for the US to keep some of its troops in Afghanistan beyond 2014.
The spokesman for the Afghan Foreign Ministry Janan Musazai told a press conference in Kabul last Sunday that Mullah Baradar, the former Taliban foreign minister, could play a vital role in the Afghan peace process. He said there should be an address of contact for Mullah Baradar and that it was important that he (Baradar) served the peace process.
"We hope the visit of High Peace Council to Pakistan would yield positive results. Afghanistan and Pakistan have an environment of close and good cooperation. We hope Pakistan would extend its assistance to the High Peace Council," Janan Musazai was quoted as saying.
He said it was important to have an address of contact for Mullah Baradar so that he could play his role in the peace process. "It's important that Mullah Baradar works in favour of the peace process," he added.
Afghan officials believed that Baradar could encourage Taliban leaders to seek a negotiated settlement to end the 12-year insurgency if he were fully at liberty. But the high-ups in Pakistan's foreign office insist that Mullah Baradar after release is free to move and meet anyone.
Baradar, once the number two to Taliban supremo Mullah Omar, was freed from jail in Pakistan in September on the request of Afghan government and as part of efforts to help facilitate the peace process.