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News Analysis: Pakistan, Afghanistan set to put joint peace efforts back on track

(Xinhua)

16:16, January 29, 2012

ISLAMABAD, Jan. 29 (Xinhua) -- Pakistan and Afghanistan are set to break deadlock in their joint peace and reconciliation efforts as both believe the U.S. has cornered them in its secret talks with the Afghan Taliban and the opening of the group's political office in Qatar, Pakistani officials and Afghan diplomats in Islamabad has said recently.

Afghanistan had suspended the joint peace and reconciliation efforts with Pakistan following the assassination of the Afghan High Peace Council Chairman Prof. Burhanuddin Rabbani in September.

Afghan officials had alleged that the bomber, who killed Rabbani at his Kabul residence, came from the southwestern Pakistani city of Quetta as a Taliban messenger and Pakistani intelligence had involved in the plot. Islamabad had dismissed the charges as malicious.

Afghan government then canceled the planned visit of Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani to Kabul in October, bringing the joint peace efforts to a total halt.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had made an attempt to arrange a summit meeting between President Asif Ali Zardari and his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai but that was also not materialized in October.

When Rabbani's murder brought the joint peace efforts of Pakistan and Afghanistan to a halt in late September, the U.S. stepped up its talks with Afghan Taliban in Qatar, keeping Islamabad and Kabul away from the development.

When the opening of Taliban office was reported by the media, Afghan government recalled its ambassador to Doha as a protest and President Karzai opposed the opening of the Taliban office in Qatar and suggested it should be located in Saudi Arabia or Turkey.

An Afghan diplomat told Xinhua in Islamabad that the U.S. did not take Afghan government in dark about the Qatar process of talks with the Taliban. He said Pakistan is aware of the process but more details of the talks were not shared with Islamabad.

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