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Taliban confirms participation in Paugwash conference

AT-KABUL:  The Taliban group in a statement on Friday said that they would send representatives to attend Pugwash Conference scheduled to be held on Saturday (today) in Doha to show their stands on different issues including security situation in Afghanistan.

Paugwash is a Nobel peace prize-winning science group, focusing to resolve conflicts, and the conference is aimed at finding a solution to the conflict in Afghanistan.

The group once again invited the Taliban to take part in a new conference aimed at finding a solution to the conflict in Afghanistan. Previously the group also invited the Taliban representatives to its research conference in Qatar.

Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, in a media statement said that his group “Taliban” has accepted this invitation, referring to the Paugwash organized conference, adding that Taliban seek to take healthy advantage of such opportunities.

Statement furthered that this conference is purely for research purposes with academic debates held on finding solutions to problems.

No officials from Afghan government will attend the conference, a source in Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who wished anonymity, told Afghanistan times. “We are currently working on peace process through the quadrilateral meeting. Therefore, we are cannot attend the Pugwash conference in Doha,” the source said.

Deputy Spokesman of Chief Executive Office, Javid Faisal, told the Associated Press that no government representatives would take part in the Pugwash gathering.

In the May of last year, some member of High Peace Council (HPC) had attended the Pugwash organized conference in Doha, Qatar, where they held meetings with the Taliban representatives.

However, they went in a personal capacity and didn’t represent the Afghan government.

Afghan political analyst, Waheed Muzhda, who was also a member of the Taliban from 1996-2001, said that the conference would not discuss the peace process rather it would throw light on the current circumstances in Afghanistan.

This is worth mentioning that Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and the US representatives gathered on Monday in Kabul for the second round of quadrilateral meeting where they talked on method how to draw a roadmap for resumption of peace talks between Afghan government and the Taliban.

The first round of talks were held in Islamabad while Kabul hosted the second round, and the third meeting is expecting to be held again in Islamabad on February 6.

The first round of face-to-face talks between Afghan government and the Taliban was stalled soon after the death report of Mullah Omar was revealed.

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