Representative from Taliban High Council including Haqqani network and Quetta Shura attend the Peace Talks: Din Mohammad
By Farhad Naibkhel-KABUL: Afghan peace delegation vented its optimism on Thursday regarding the recently held peace negotiations with the representatives from the Taliban High Council including Haqqani network and Quetta Shura, held in Pakistan’s scenic Murree city.
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Deputy for Government Peace Negotiation Delegation Hekmat Khalil Karzai said that the presence of foreign troops in Afghanistan, sanctions against the Taliban by the UN and prisoners of the Taliban were among the key issues taken up by the Taliban at the first ever 2-day direct peace talks that took place in Murree of Pakistan on Tuesday.
Speaking at a press conference here, he said that the first round of the direct talks was concluded that there must be a list of demands and the challenges that need to be discussed in the next session of the talks. “It was unanimously decided the peace process must keep continue,” Karzai said.
“Trust building was the third point. It was discussed how to reduce bloodshed and eventually stop it. We also touched upon a commitment on ceasefire that there must not be any violence in Eid days,” Karzai added.
He said that everything will be discussed but at the guarantee of the desired results. “For instance, if we agree on releasing of prisoners there must be a guarantee that those released wouldn’t take up arms once again and start fighting against government again,” he commented. Talking on President Ashraf Ghani’s visit to Russia, he said besides attending the conference, Ghani will talk to key dignitaries from across the world and the region particularly Pakistan to woo their support in Afghan peace process.
The Head of Afghan Government Peace Negotiation Delegation, Azizullah Din Mohmmad said that three authorized representatives from the Taliban High Council including Haqqani network and Quetta Shura had participated in the first face to face meeting with Afghan government delegation.
He termed the beginning of the first direct official talks a great step.
He said that next meeting between the government and the Taliban representatives will be held after Eid.
He added that efforts are being made to make it happen as soon as possible after Eid. “The negotiation process is not a simple matter as the parties to the conflict have their own sets of demands, but gradually they are inching towards a more composite and conclusive dialogue,” he said optimistically. “The start of the direct talks is welcoming as they don’t see the issues resolved by bloodshed but by talks,” he said. A member of the Government Peace Negotiation Delegation, Mohammad Natiqi, termed the commencement of formal peace dialogues a crucial step than informal sessions of talks between the government and the Taliban in the past. He said that they have been watching practical steps taken by Pakistan in the peace process with keen interests as a key facilitator as well as the presence of the United States’ and China’s representatives as observers of the meeting provide weight to the process. He said that all the possible matters would be kept in the agenda in the next round of talks, but at the same time the already made achievements wouldn’t be compromised.