Pakistan has conceded that it has contacts with the Taliban but Qatar, the venue of the Taliban-U.S. talks that began in July 2018, has more influence on them.
According to veteran Pakistani editor and Taliban affairs expert Rahimullah Yusufzai, in an artcle, writes: “For years it was presumed that Pakistan, due to its old links with the Afghan Taliban, had more influence than any other country on the hardline armed group. Primarily because a number of Taliban leaders had fled to Pakistan after losing power in Afghanistan following the post-9/11 U.S. invasion. It was believed that Islamabad was capable of influencing Taliban decision-making.”
According to Yusufzai, Pakistan has conceded it has contacts with the Taliban just like certain other countries. “For the first time on March 1, 2016, [then Pakistani] Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs, Sartaj Aziz… admitted that Islamabad has some influence on the Taliban as its leadership along with their families live in Pakistan and receive medical facilities. Until then, Pakistan had consistently denied the presence of the Taliban leadership in the country.”