Representatives of China, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the United States—members of the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG)—met in Islamabad, Pakistan, on Monday, January 11, 2016, for the latest effort to revive the peace talks between the government of Afghanistan and the Taliban. The Taliban were not participants in the meeting. Previous efforts in past years have yielded very few results. The next round of talks are scheduled for Monday, January 18, 2016, in Kabul.
For a brief time in mid-2015, it appeared that some progress would be made in restarting the peace talks for the Afghan conflict, but this effort fell apart when the news of the death of Mullah Omar (the leader of the Taliban) was released. This news caused a divide within the Taliban, instigated a fight for Taliban leadership, and cast suspicions on the earnestness of the Pakistan government.
Pakistan seems intent on restarting the talks to get the Taliban to the negotiating table. Whether the efforts by Pakistan are sincere remains to be seen. Observers are wondering if this current attempt by Pakistan is just more ‘information operations’ to present its image in a favorable light to the international community (and ensure continued U.S. aid), or if it is a genuine effort to establish peace and stability in Afghanistan. Pakistan’s concerns about ‘strategic depth’ in Afghanistan and its efforts to counter India’s influence in the region are big factors in the likelihood of the Afghan Taliban losing Pakistan’s support.