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Afghanistan’s new council take the lead in Taliban talks

AT News

KABUL: The High Reconciliation Council, a body supposed to be formed soon by the government, will draw the basic lines to negotiate with the Taliban.

The body will be a replace to the existing High Peace Council that is serving since 2010 to encourage Taliban insurgents to accept the government peace offer.

The new council is to offer suggestions to the negotiating delegation led by former intelligence director Massoum Stanakzai.

Wahid Omar, an adviser to President Ghani, said Tuesday that works on the council were at the final stage and it would be soon announced.

“The work of the reconciliation council has progressed. Our promise was to form a smaller delegation and then a grand one to make big decisions. The negotiating delegation has been shaped and works on the forming of reconciliation council is going on,” said Omar.

Presidential office says that the government would determine authorities of the council.

Taliban earlier rejected Ghani’s delegation, saying it could not represent all Afghan parties. Omar called on Taliban not to seek pretexts and help the peace negotiations be held.

The state ministry for peace said that all political parties were consulted in the formation of the “inclusive” council.

The US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad also praised the council, calling it “inclusive”.

A former jihadi leader Abdul Rasoul Sayyaf also welcomed and supported the council.

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