"The participants emphasised the immediate need for direct talks between representatives of the government of Afghanistan and representatives from Taliban groups in a peace process that aims to preserve Afghanistan's unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity," a joint statement said after the meeting here yesterday.

"The group would hold discussions on a roadmap at its next meeting to be held on 18th January 2016 in Kabul," it cited. The group was set up last year to facilitate the reconciliation process in the war-torn country. The talks came as Taliban waged an unprecedented winter campaign of violence. All the four countries underscored the importance of  bringing an end to the conflict in Afghanistan that continues to inflict senseless violence on the Afghan people and also breeds insecurity throughout the region, it added.

The delegations were led by Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Khalil Karzai, Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, the US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Ambassador Richard G Olson and China’s Special Envoy for Afghanistan Ambassador Deng Xijun.

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