ISLAMABAD – The Majority of Taliban backed off the Afghan-led reconciliation process due to its eligibility criteria, sources said on Tuesday.
Calling it a ploy to divide Afghans, sources said: "Like in the past these efforts would never do well in realising the core objective of peace and reconciliation in the war ravaged country".
Speaking on condition of anonymity, they said ‘the process cannot bear fruits as long as the Afghan government and the United States do away with their decision to categorise the various resistance groups particularly Taliban into reconcilable and irreconcilable groups.
"This does not and will never serve the purpose", sources said.
Referring to the detained Taliban leaders released by Pakistan last month, they said that those released under the category of 'reconcilable' would not be able to give boost to the reconciliation process as overwhelming majority of Taliban was still falling in the category of 'irreconcilable' because they think that genuine reconciliation process would start only once the foreign troops pull out of Afghanistan.
Sources told TheNation that Pakistan, which is committed to peace and stability and playing the role of a facilitator, sought a compressive mechanism to encourage Taliban to join the peace process.
According to them, Pakistan also took up the issue with Afghan Foreign Minister DrZalmai Rasool during his recent visit to Pakistan.
They said that Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar had also asked US Secretary of States Hilary Clinton,during their meeting in Brussels, to review the criteria so that Afghan-led peace efforts could yield results before the Nato troops withdrawal.
Simultaneously, Islamabad is seeking US guarantees that released Taliban would not be used against Pakistan, if the peace talks fail.
"Pakistan itself is a victim of terrorism and extremism, therefore, releasing Taliban leaders in haste is risky", sources said.
They believed that Pakistan was sincerely willing to facilitate the Afghan owned peace process but cannot take such important decision in haste as it might have serious repercussions for its security.
"Reconciliation in Afghanistan is not a simple issue, and unless there is a credible mechanism and clear direction to implement a political strategy, it would remain a risky process", a source said.
Meanwhile, a US official told TheNation that Washington would continue discussing with Pakistan about specific steps both sides could take to bring peace in Afghanistan. "These discussions are in support of the US-Afghanistan-Pakistan Core Group's efforts", he added.
He mentioned that the Safe Passage Working Group was trying to establish a mechanism to determine eligibility for safe passage guarantees.
"This is necessary for a credible peace and reconciliation process. The group will address issues related to safety and security, and pre-requisites for travel", he added.
He reiterated that they must break from Al-Qaeda, renounce violence and abide by the Afghan Constitution and pledge respect for rights of all Afghans including women and minorities.
The US and Afghan government have been actively supporting Qatar process that failed to achieve any tangible objective because many of Taliban leaders want Saudi Arabia to play key role to secure lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan.