ISLAMABAD: Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs and National Security Sartaj Aziz on Tuesday informed the Senate that efforts were being made for resumption of reconciliation talks between the Afghan Taliban and the Afghan government.
The adviser said the announcement about Mullah Omar’s death had caused suspension of the talks. He stated that now Mullah Omar’s son, Mullah Yaqoob, had himself confirmed that his father had never left Afghanistan, died of tuberculosis and hepatitis and was buried in Afghanistan.
“Mullah Omar’s son has confirmed that his father had died and was buried in Afghanistan,” said the adviser.
Aziz also strongly rejected reports that Mullah Omar had died in Pakistan and termed them baseless.
Responding to a question regarding the resumption of the stalled dialogue process, Aziz said it now depends on the Afghan government, and they can resume the process if they are willing to.
Earlier in July, the leadership of the Afghan Taliban had disassociated itself from a process Pakistan had been facilitating to encourage the group’s dialogue with the government of Afghanistan for peace and reconciliation.
Pakistan’s role in facilitating the reconciliation process has always been considered as crucial. But Pakistani officials have all along been cautioning about the limits of their influence on the Taliban.
Afghanistan in August had sought the help of Maulana Samiul Haq to urge the Taliban to resume the Pakistan-brokered peace talks, which had been halted after the announced death of Taliban chief Mullah Omar.
Pakistan had hosted a meeting between the Afghan government and Afghan Taliban representatives in Murree on July 7, 2015, which was also attended by representatives from China and the United States.
The second round of the talks, which was scheduled to be held in Pakistan on July 31, 2015, was postponed after reports regarding the death of Mullah Omar and the ensuing leadership crisis among the Taliban.
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