Former Afghan president Hamid Karzai is expected to lead a high-level delegation, including High Council for National Reconciliation chief Abdullah Abdullah, to Pakistan to give a push to efforts to forge a political settlement in Afghanistan amid the fast-paced drawdown of US forces.
Karzai’s visit is being seen as complementary to US special representative for Afghanistan reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad’s efforts to nudge the Afghan government and the Taliban towards a political settlement. Khalilzad began a visit on June 4 that has taken him to Afghanistan and Qatar, where he met the Taliban negotiating team.
The team to be led by Karzai to Pakistan will represent the Grand Council that was convened recently by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to fashion a strategy for further talks with the Taliban, people familiar with developments said on condition of anonymity. The inclusion of Abdullah in the team is an effort to project a united front, they said.
The team is expected to travel to Islamabad by June 20 and its members will engage with Pakistan’s political and military leadership to underline the importance of taking forward talks with the Taliban on finding a political settlement, the people said.