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Pak-Afghan committees formed for talks with Taliban
[November 20, 2008]

Pak-Afghan committees formed for talks with Taliban

Nov 19, 2008 (Asia Pulse Data Source via COMTEX) --
In line with the decision taken at Pak-Afghan mini-jirga meeting held here last month, Pakistan and Afghanistan have formed the committees of influential persons to hold peace talks with Taliban on both sides of the border.

Two committees have been formed on both sides of Pak-Afghan border as was decided in the two-day mini-jirga meeting held in Islamabad on October 27-28 to reach out to Taliban and other opposition groups, said a senior official here on Wednesday desiring not to be named.

He said the committees had also started performing the task assigned to them and they would come up with their report before the next meeting of Pak-Afghan jirga for which the scheduled would be finalized with mutual consent of two sides.

However, the official said that the names of the committees members would be kept secret, again as was decided at the mini-jirga meeting, to ensure the safety of the individuals included in the important bodies.

Not only the names but the work that these committees carry out will also be kept clandestine as otherwise it will serve no purpose and the whole activity will prove to be an exercise in futility, the official said.

He said that the more the committees members work silently in a secret manner the more it would be effective and would help lead to the desired results of durable peace and stability in Afghanistan and the border regions of Pakistan.

According to official, one important decision taken by the jirga was to allow the two committees to talk to Taliban on both sides of the border if and when they felt the need and not to restrict themselves to meetings with the militants on their own territory.

However, the official said that nothing could be said as for now about the success of peace efforts being made through the jirga committees as the Taliban, who had been able to spread their influence manifold in Afghanistan and the tribal belt, could not be persuaded easily to lay down their arms and end the resistance.

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