A delegation of the Afghan High Peace Council has arrived in Islamabad to meet Pakistani government officials and Afghan Taliban leaders released by Pakistan to discuss intra-Afghan dialogue, security officials said Wednesday.
The delegation is headed by Salahuddin Rabbani, who heads the Afghan council charged with promoting peace talks with the Taliban, the officials said, adding that the delegation is expected to meet Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, a top aide of Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar, on Thursday.
Baradar was released by the Pakistan government in September following a request by Afghanistan, which hoped the release might help jump-start the country's peace process with the Taliban.
However, Baradar refused to leave Pakistan, saying he would like to get consent from Taliban leadership before going abroad or deciding whether to meet a delegation from the Afghan government.
A meeting between Mullah Baradar and the Afghan High Peace Council delegation would represent a step forward in paving the way for an intra-Afghan dialogue ahead of the U.S. announced withdrawal from Afghanistan by 2014.
The Afghan delegation's visit to Pakistan also concides with a tribal assembly's meeting in Kabul to consider matters relating to peace in Afghanistan and the strategic agreement being discussed by Afghanistan and the United States.