AT-KABUL: Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman, Ahmad Shekib Mostaghni told Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty that the Taliban can present their conditions during the direct talks, not prior to that.
“Afghan government has always emphasized that all the groups who come to the talks, should come without preconditions,” Mostaghni said. “When direct talks kicked off, all the demands could be presented and all the conditions could be discussed,” he said.
The remarks come days after the third meeting of the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) held in Islamabad with a call for the face-to-face talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban by the end of this month (February).
The meeting said in a statement that a “roadmap for the stalled peace process” was agreed, but no further details were provided. The QCG asked the Taliban to join the reconciliation process. The fourth meeting will be held in Kabul on February 23. Taliban representatives were not present in the meeting.
Reaffirming his country’s firm commitment to lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan and regional countries, Pakistan’s Foreign Affairs Advisor Sartaj Aziz said that Afghans have suffered a lot from the cycle of violence.
Addressing the four-nation representatives on Afghan peace process, Sartaj Aziz said that political reconciliation is the most viable option for promoting long-term peace and stability in Afghanistan. He added that the participant countries must apply all efforts to keep the peace process on track.
Deputy Foreign Minister Hikmat Khalil Karzai represented Afghanistan in the QCG meeting. Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry was also attending the meeting.
It is worth mentioning that first face-to-face talks between Afghan government and Taliban was held in July in Pakistan, but stalled soon after the Taliban confirmed the death report of their longtime leader, Mullah Omar. The death report also led to the widening rift among the Taliban officials.