ISLAMABAD: Senior Afghan, Pakistani and US diplomats on Friday opened talks in Islamabad to review peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan, officials and diplomats said.
Special US representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Marc Grossman and Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Jawed Luddin led their delegations in the talks while the Pakistani side is headed by Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani, Xinhua news agency quoted a statement from the Foreign Ministry.
The 6th meeting of the Core Group of Pakistan, Afghanistan and the US would review various issues of common interest including the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process, economic development, narcotics, return of Afghan refugees and regional connectivity, the statement said.
Afghan ambassador in Islamabad, Omar Daudzai, said that the meeting would also discuss "obstacles" in the Afghan peace and reconciliation process. The diplomats will review the progress in the peace process achieved so far.
The trilateral forum was revived last month when senior diplomats from the three countries met in Dushanbe, Tajikistan after nearly a four-month deadlock over the assassination of Afghan peace envoy Professor Burhanuddin Rabbani in September.
"The meeting in Islamabad is a follow-up on last month's meeting in Dushanbe," said Daudzai.
Kabul suspended high-level contacts with Islamabad after Rabbani's assassination, claiming that the murder was planned with the help of "elements" in Pakistan and carried out by a suspected Afghan Taliban bomber from Quetta. Islamabad swiftly dismissed the charges and assured cooperation in a joint probe.
The trilateral meeting will be held ahead of the NATO summit in Chicago on May 20-21 to discuss matters relating to the planned withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan.
Pakistan has been invited to the summit but it has not yet decided to participate, the Foreign Ministry's spokesman said at a press briefing last week.
Afghan sources say that Pakistan and Afghanistan will also revive the joint peace and reconciliation process following the nomination of the new peace envoy, Salahuddin Rabbani, son of the slain Rabbani.
Salahuddin was appointed head of the High Peace Council this month and is now all set for the restart of joint peace efforts, sources said.