Pakistan on Monday urged the Taliban to remain engaged in the Afghan peace process after the group said it would not attend summits about Afghanistan until all foreign forces leave the country, Reuters reported.
The decision was made after the US said last week it would withdraw all troops by Sept. 11, later than a May 1 deadline agreed upon in Doha agreement.
"They take their own decisions, but we will do whatever we can to convince them that it is in their national interest to remain engaged," Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said of the Taliban in an interview with Reuters in Abu Dhabi.
According to Reuters, Qureshi said withdrawal delays were always a possibility due to logistics but that the Taliban had largely succeeded in their objective for foreign troops to withdraw and so should show flexibility towards the new Sept. 11 deadline.
"The troops will be out, and a date has been given and the process starts on the 1st of May and goes on until the 11th of September so there is a definite time frame," Qureshi said as quoted by Reuters.
Reuters quotes sources as saying that Pakistan was putting pressure on the Taliban to come back to the table.
Qureshi said he believed the Taliban would benefit from staying involved.
Representatives of the United States, Qatar, United Nations and Turkey have held meetings with the Taliban over the last few days in an attempt to create an environment of trust between the US and the Taliban, sources told TOLOnews, who added there has been some progress.
Representatives at these meetings have been trying to assure the Taliban that all Doha agreement commitments will be addressed by Sept. 11, and, in exchange, they have asked the group to resume negotiations and attend the Turkey summit for meaningful talks, sources close to the Taliban said.
“The Taliban wants the Turkey conference to be a landmark decision-making event and they believe that the implementation of the Doha agreement is the key to achieve this goal,” said Faiz Mohammad Zaland, a university lecturer.
Besides the United States, Qatar, Turkey, and the UN, Pakistan has also begun efforts to pressure the Taliban to attend the key summit, say reporters familiar with the matter.
“It can also be a challenge for Pakistan--whether it can push the Taliban to attend the Turkey summit or not,” said Tahir Khan, a Pakistani journalist.
Moreover, the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in an interview with ABC news said that the civil war in Afghanistan is in "no one’s interest."
“If the Taliban is going to participate in some fashion in governance, if it wants to be internationally recognized, if it doesn’t want to be a pariah, it’s going to have to engage in a political process,” he said.