China is surprisingly becoming a mediator in the conflict between Afghanistan and Pakistan about the role of the Taliban. Beijing could succeed, where years of military action of the West has not.
Originally appeared at DWN, translated by Karin exclusively for SouthFront
Afghanistan and Pakistan want to support a resumption of peace talks with the Taliban. Both countries agreed on Sunday to meet in January with representatives of the US and China in order to prepare the discussions, government officials said. In a statement the Afghan presidency said that the first round of talks between Afghanistan and Pakistan as well as the intermediaries US and China, should serve on behalf of a draft for a comprehensive peace roadmap. The Taliban initially did not comment.
The announcement was made simultaneously with a meeting of the influential Pakistani army chief Raheel Sharif in Kabul with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and managing government director Abdullah Abdullah. Ghani had recently campaigned for better relations with Pakistan, which is an important refuge for the Taliban.
The negotiations with the Islamist rebel movement had not been continued after a first meeting in July. One reason for the interruption was that after the announcement of the death of the longtime leader Mullah Omar, a power struggle broke out within the Taliban.
However, the continuation of the talks was also hampered by the frosty atmosphere between Kabul and Islamabad.
For a long time Kabul has been accusing the neighboring country of using the Taliban as a means in the struggle for influence in Afghanistan. Kabul accused in particular Islamabad to have helped the rebels in late September in the conquest of the northern Afghan city of Kunduz.