Pakistani Army chief visits Kabul to discuss peace talks

Gen. Raheel Sharif of Pakistan and senior Afghan officials have agreed to meet with US and Chinese officials early in the new year to discuss peace-relates issues.'

Mohammad Anwar Danishyar/AP
Afghan militia men raise their weapons as they stand guard in the Achin district of Nangarhar province east of Kabul, Afghanistan, on Sunday.

Afghanistan and Pakistan agreed on Sunday to meet with US and Chinese officials in the first weeks of the new year to discuss "peace-related issues," a move that could re-invigorate a stalled peace process with the Taliban, the Afghan president's office said.

The development came as Pakistan's powerful Army chief Gen. Raheel Sharif met with senior officials in the Afghan capital, including President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah.

The visit focused on the possible revival of peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban, which stalled this summer. The Taliban have been waging a vicious insurgency since the 2001 US-led invasion overthrew their regime.

According to Pakistan's military spokesman Lt. Gen. Asim Saleem Bajwa, the army chief had travelled to Kabul with "sincerity and optimism" about the peace process and also planned to discuss better border management between the two neighbors.

Bilateral ties had suffered in recent months, and President Ghani has lately blamed Pakistan for much of the violence in Afghanistan, saying Islamabad supports and harbors the Taliban in Pakistani cities close to the Afghan border – a charge Pakistan denies.

Then, two weeks ago, a regional conference in Islamabad called for the resumption of the Afghan-Taliban peace negotiations. Ghani attended the meeting, as well as US and Chinese representatives. Washington and Beijing have a keen interest in moving the peace dialogue forward.

The Taliban-Kabul talks have been on hold since July, when Afghanistan announced the death of Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar and the Taliban called off its participation. A subsequent power struggle and clashes between rival Taliban factions have raised questions as to who will represent the insurgents if the talks with Kabul are revived.

But analysts have cautioned that despite the rapprochement, any substantive talks are still months off.

The statement from Ghani's office after President Sharif's departure, however, struck an optimistic note, saying "both sides discussed the mutual interest issues" and agreed that Afghanistan, Pakistan, the US, and China would "hold their first meeting on peace-related issues in January 2016, under the leadership of Afghanistan."

In a statement late Sunday, the Pakistani military said both sides agreed to pursue peace and reconciliation with Taliban groups willing to join the process. "Elements that still continue to pursue violence will be dealt with under a mutually worked-out framework," it said.

Sunday's talks in Kabul considered "effective ways to stop or avoid the activities of terrorist groups who are using the soil of two countries for their activities," Ghani's palace statement also said. It added that the two sides emphasized the need for more security meeting between Afghanistan and Pakistan to foster a better exchange of information.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
Real news can be honest, hopeful, credible, constructive.
What is the Monitor difference? Tackling the tough headlines – with humanity. Listening to sources – with respect. Seeing the story that others are missing by reporting what so often gets overlooked: the values that connect us. That’s Monitor reporting – news that changes how you see the world.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

QR Code to Pakistani Army chief visits Kabul to discuss peace talks
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today