KABUL, Afghanistan — The Taliban have referred to as off conferences in Pakistan, together with a primary viewers with a nationwide chief since their regime was ousted from energy in Afghanistan in 2001, after the Afghan authorities protested to the United Nations Safety Council that leaders of the rebel group have been violating journey restrictions beneath worldwide sanctions.
A spokesman for the Taliban stated on Sunday that representatives of the group had been compelled to postpone a visit to Islamabad, the Pakistani capital, to satisfy with Prime Minister Imran Khan and to proceed peace talks with American diplomats due to the journey restrictions.
A letter submitted to the United Nations on Friday by Nazifullah Salarzai, Afghanistan’s deputy consultant to the physique, stated the Taliban’s journey to Pakistan — and significantly the assembly with Mr. Khan — would quantity to “the official recognition and legitimization of an armed group that poses a critical risk to the safety and stability of Afghanistan and whose members are sanctioned by provisions of the U.N. Safety Council.”
Afghan and Taliban officers stated the Afghan authorities grievance was most definitely solely a part of the explanation for cancellation, significantly since a few of the Taliban delegation members have lengthy been dwelling in Pakistan anyway, however it has renewed a debate across the capability of rebel leaders to journey freely lately.
Taliban representatives have popped up in every single place from luxurious accommodations within the United Arab Emirates to bullet trains in China to convention halls a stone’s throw from the Kremlin in Moscow, at the same time as violence linked to the group has intensified in Afghanistan. Afghan officers have expressed worry that in a rush to facilitate a peace deal, its worldwide companions are emboldening the Taliban by giving the group extra freedom of motion with out receiving concessions in return.
Different causes for the cancellation embrace inside disagreements over the problem among the many Taliban, who have been divided over how shut they needed to be seen to the federal government of Pakistan throughout peace negotiations, in keeping with rebel leaders who requested anonymity as a result of they weren’t approved to debate the group’s inside deliberations. The Pakistani army has lengthy supported the Taliban and has supplied Taliban leaders with sanctuary from American airstrikes and Afghan operations.
In an indication that the assembly with Mr. Khan had develop into a divisive difficulty inside their ranks, the Taliban made no point out of it within the assertion about canceling the journey, as a substitute specializing in the conferences with American diplomats.
Pakistani safety businesses have been additionally divided about the advantages of assembly with the Taliban at a time when the nation is beneath strain from two different neighbors, Iran and India, following current assaults in opposition to their forces by militant teams reportedly working from Pakistan.
Two Afghan officers who requested anonymity as a result of they weren’t approved to talk to the information media stated it was probably that Pakistan had referred to as off the assembly as a result of the nation didn’t need to additional complicate its worldwide standing after being positioned on the grey record of the Monetary Motion Job Drive, a world physique combating cash laundering and terrorism financing.
The Taliban’s conferences in Pakistan would have fallen across the identical time as a high-profile go to to the nation by the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, elevating rumors that he may additionally be concerned in a few of the peace conferences. Prince Mohammed arrived in Islamabad on Sunday firstly of a weeklong go to to Asia.
America has enlisted Saudi Arabia to assist the Afghan peace course of, however the Sunni kingdom’s rivalry with Iran and tangled relations with different regional nations, together with Qatar, the place the Taliban’s negotiators have an workplace, has sophisticated the method.
Prince Mohammed arrived in Pakistan with a pledge to speculate $20 billion within the nation, which has struggled economically lately. Pakistan bestowed its highest civilian honor on the crown prince, whose picture as a reformer suffered a blow after allegations that he had ordered the homicide of the Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi final October in Istanbul.
Even earlier than the announcement of Taliban conferences in Pakistan, the Afghan authorities was already livid that regional nations had been accommodating journeys by leaders of the rebel group, together with a convention in Moscow the place a big Taliban delegation met with Afghan opposition politicians.
One Afghan politician attending the Moscow occasion stated Taliban leaders informed them they’d flown Qatar Airways, a industrial airline, from their political workplace in Doha. They have been put up on the Resort Metropol, which as soon as housed a part of the Bolshevik authorities, and the place the primary Soviet structure was drafted.
Taliban leaders have lengthy managed to evade journey restrictions, and senior Afghan officers have questioned the United Nations’ effectiveness in policing them. Taliban representatives have visited capitals equivalent to Tehran and Beijing, on chartered flights in addition to industrial airways.
In China, the Taliban representatives toured a number of cities and traveled by high-speed bullet trains, visibly moved by expertise that they informed their hosts was inconceivable in Afghanistan due to conflict, in keeping with a former Afghan official who spoke on the situation of anonymity to keep away from diplomatic strains.
In a gathering with American diplomats in Abu Dhabi final month, the senior official stated, Taliban representatives who had come from Pakistan had flown on a Pakistani army aircraft, a declare that would not be independently verified.
Whereas a lot of the Taliban leaders who’re a part of the group’s Qatar workplace carry Afghan passports, some Taliban members have used faux names and Pakistani passports to evade detection. When their former chief Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour was killed by a drone strike within the Pakistani province of Balochistan whereas getting back from a visit to Iran, an intact Pakistani passport bearing his image was discovered subsequent to his incinerated automobile. Journey knowledge confirmed that he had continuously flown to Dubai on industrial airways and that he had crossed the Pakistani border to Iran by automobile.
“They journey on bizarre flights to those nations, they journey like an bizarre individual,” stated Sayed Akbar Agha, a former Taliban commander now dwelling in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan. “The Taliban members are invited by massive nations like the USA, Russia, China, France and others,” who can “assure every little thing, together with the blacklist difficulty,” he stated.