US excludes Pak in diplomatic move to consult allies over Taliban issue

Last Updated: Mon, Jan 16, 2012 12:20 hrs

The United States launched a new diplomatic offensive on Monday to consult its allies, except Pakistan, on its efforts to re-engage the Taliban.

US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Marc Grossman left Washington on Sunday on a visit that will take him to Ankara, Riyadh, Abu Dhabi, Kabul and Doha, The Dawn reports.

State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said Grossman will not travel to Pakistan during this 12-day visit, which ends on January 27.

Pakistan, however, made its own move to stay relevant in the Afghan peace process, by renewing its offer to Kabul to help negotiate a deal with the Taliban.

Pakistan and Afghanistan reportedly held several rounds of talks on this issue, but the assassination of Kabul's chief peace envoy, former president Burhanuddin Rabbani, last year, derailed the process.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has accused Pakistan of responsibility for the murder and last month he said that Pakistan was sabotaging Kabul's efforts to engage the Taliban.

But on Sunday, an Afghan official said that Afghanistan would resume talks with Pakistan.

"After Pakistan expressed readiness, the Afghan government has also agreed to resume the talks with Pakistan over the Taliban," Esmael Qasimyar, a senior member of the government-appointed High Peace Council, said. (ANI)