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Afghan officials to meet former Taliban No 2

China Daily | Updated: 2013-11-22 07:21

Members of an Afghan delegation tasked with holding peace talks with the Taliban are in Pakistan to meet the group's former deputy leader in an attempt to breathe life into the sputtering negotiations, Pakistani and Afghan officials said on Wednesday.

Pakistan released the former Taliban No 2, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, in September after years of detention, a move that stirred hope among many Afghan and Pakistani officials that he could help forge a peace deal between the insurgents and the Afghan government.

The United States has also pushed for a peace deal with the Taliban, hoping to prevent Afghanistan from spiraling into further instability when most US troops withdraw by the end of 2014.

But some observers have expressed doubt that Baradar will make a difference in jump-starting the peace process, saying he has been in captivity too long and may no longer be trusted by the Taliban. The insurgent group has also poured cold water on hopes that the former deputy leader will spark a breakthrough in negotiations.


(China Daily 11/22/2013 page11)

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