PESHAWAR: Members of a Taliban negotiating team will call on Prime Minister Imran Khan in Islamabad on Monday, February 18, after holding a meeting with a United States delegation in response to a formal invitation from Pakistan, said the group’s spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, in a statement released on Wednesday night.
Mujahid added that the “team of Islamic Emirate” will have “comprehensive discussions” with the prime minister “about Pak-Afghan relations and issues pertaining to Afghan refugees and Afghan businessmen.”
It may be recalled that the Afghan faction had issued a list of 14 representatives a day earlier, naming those members who would participate in the next round of peace talks with US diplomats in Doha, Qatar, on February 25.
The list mentioned that the Taliban negotiating team would be headed by Abbas Stanikzai and include five former inmates of the Guantanamo Bay prison facility who were released in 2014 in exchange for an American soldier who was captured by the Afghan group in 2009.
Mujahid also noted in his statement that the US had not named members of its negotiating team, though he added that the two sides were in contact with each other.
As the Taliban and US negotiators interact to reach a peace deal before the Afghan presidential election in July this year, it is widely believed that any breakthrough in the negotiating process could lead to Taliban’s participation in the July ballot.
However, the group’s spokesman recently noted it was premature for his faction to say it would contest the presidential election unless it had reached a peace deal with the Americans.