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Pakistan, Afghanistan Set for 'Ice Breaking' Talks in Paris

  • Ayaz Gul

FILE - Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, (r) invites visiting Afghan President Ashraf Ghani for talks at the prime minister house in Islamabad, Pakistan, Nov. 15, 2014.

FILE - Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, (r) invites visiting Afghan President Ashraf Ghani for talks at the prime minister house in Islamabad, Pakistan, Nov. 15, 2014.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif are set to hold what is being seen as an “ice breaking” meeting in Paris Monday where British Prime Minister David Cameron will also be present, Pakistani official sources told VOA.

The trilateral meeting on the sidelines of the U.N. climate change summit comes amid intensified efforts the United States, China and Pakistan are making for the resumption of peace talks between Afghan government and Taliban officials for ending the war in Afghanistan.

Afghan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah told a weekly meeting of the council of ministers in Kabul Monday that Ghani agreed to hold the Paris meeting at Sharif’s request sent through a group of Pakistani ethnic Pashtun politicians who visited Kabul last week.

The Pashtun ethnic group has sizable populations in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The two sides are expected to discuss ways to ease bilateral tensions and jointly work for the resumption of stalled peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban officials.

Pakistan negotiated and hosted a single groundbreaking meeting between Taliban and Afghan delegates in July in an effort to help bring an end to the 14 year-old conflict in Afghanistan.

But the nascent peace process was disrupted when it was revealed days later that reclusive, longtime Taliban leader Mullah Omar had died two years ago.

Ever since that disclosure derailed the reconciliation process four months ago, Afghanistan has witnessed an uptick in violence by a resurgent Taliban, with Ghani and other Afghan leaders increasingly blaming Pakistan for being behind the bloodshed.

FILE - Taliban militants stand beside the burnt trucks, background left, on main Ghazni- Kandahar highway in Ghazni, west of Kabul, Afghanistan, Oct.19, 2009.

FILE - Taliban militants stand beside the burnt trucks, background left, on main Ghazni- Kandahar highway in Ghazni, west of Kabul, Afghanistan, Oct.19, 2009.

Islamabad denies the Afghan charges but the allegations and counter-allegations have halted months of improvement in bilateral contacts and trade and economic ties.

Monday’s meeting is expected to break the deadlock and has rekindled hopes the Afghan reconciliation process may restart soon.

Pakistani officials insist the peace dialogue is essential to end the fighting and prevent the Taliban from preparing another spring offensive next year.

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