Arrests of Taliban leaders by Pak blocked 'secret' talks with Taliban: UN official

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London, Mar.19 (ANI): A top United Nations (UN) official has blamed Pakistan of blocking reconciliation efforts with the Taliban by arresting several top extremist commanders.

Admitting that there were secret negotiations going on with the Afghan Taliban, former UN envoy to Afghanistan Kai Eide criticised Pakistan for the arrests of high-profile Taliban leaders, including the second-in command Mullah Ghani Baradar, which he said has 'completely stopped a channel of secret communications with the UN.'

Eide said the UN was involved in face-to-face talks with the Taliban leaders to establish and stability in the region.

"The effect of [the arrests], in total, certainly, was negative on our possibilities to continue the political process that we saw as so necessary at that particular juncture.The Pakistanis did not play the role that they should have played.... They must have known who they were, what kind of role they were playing, and you see the result today," BBC quoted Eide, as saying.

He said the secret deliberations were started a year ago and several rounds of talks were held until recently.

"The first contact was probably last spring, then of course you moved into the election process where there was a lull in activity, and then communication picked up when the election process was over, and it continued to pick up until a certain moment a few weeks ago," Eide said.

When asked that whether the talks also involved the Taliban chief Mullah Omar, Eide said : "I find it unthinkable that such contact would take place without his knowledge and also without his acceptance."

"We met senior figures in the Taliban leadership and we also met people who have the authority of the Quetta Shura to engage in that kind of discussion," he added.

Eide's revelation confirms that certain factions within the Taliban are ready for reconciliation, but the UN official cautioned that it would take months or even longer to bridge the trust deficit on both sides in order to move forward. (ANI)

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