ISTANBUL: Confirming that the Taliban recently visited China seeking their role in the peace talks, a senior Afghan Taliban leader Agha Jan Mutasim said that it was now up to Kabul to decide whether it wanted to come to the negotiation table.
“Taliban are optimistic about the peace process and they believe China could play a key role,” the Express Tribune quoted former Taliban minister Mutasim as saying.
Mutasim also a close confidante of former Afghan Taliban supremo Mullah Omar said that the ball of coming to the negotiation table was now in Kabul’s court and not the Taliban.
Political negotiators from Taliban’s Qatar office were last month called by China, a member of the four-nation Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) which has been pushing for a peace process in Afghanistan.
Following the invitation, a four-member delegation led by Sher Abbas Stanakzai, head of the Taliban’s political office in Qatar, visited Beijing from July 18 to 22.
Mutasim also talked about the differences within the Taliban and claimed that leaders of breakaway factions and dissident groups have now stopped publicly opposing the new leader Maulvi Haibatullah.
Haibatullah was appointed in June after a May 21 drone strike killed Mullah Akhtar Mansoor in Balochistan.