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QCG meets today in Oman on Afghan peace process

muscutPESHAWAR: A four-nation group seeking to promote peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan is due to meet in Muscat today (Monday), officials say.

Diplomats from Afghanistan, China, Pakistan and the US are meeting for the first time in more than a year in an effort to facilitate direct talks between Kabul and the Taliban.

The killing of Taliban’s supreme leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour in a US drone strike in Balochistan last year had dealt a setback to the quadrilateral process.

Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Khalil Karzai leads the Afghan delegation, which also includes a representative of the High Peace Council.

On Sunday, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Abdullah Abdullah said Afghan-Pakistan relations would be discussed at the Quadrilateral Cooperation Group (QCG) meeting in Oman.

Abdullah said good relations with neighbours was Afghanistan’s need and the recent visit of the Pakistan Army chief was aimed at defusing tensions between the two countries.

Alice Wells, assistant secretary of state, heads the US delegation. The QCG is a format that allows the four states to discuss the situation in Afghanis­tan, a State Department official was quoted as saying by Dawn.

Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua, who is already in Oman, will lead the Pakistani team, including senior military officials, according to the newspaper.

A day earlier, Janjua met Oman’s Undersecretary for Foreign Affairs Dr Mohammed Bin Awadh Al Hassan for political consultations.

The Foreign Office in Islamabad said the secretary briefed her counterpart on relations with neighbouring countries. The QCG has held five sessions so far. -Pajhwok

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