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China, Russia, Iran, Pakistan push for start of intra-Afghan talks

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KABUL: The representatives of China, Russia, Iran and Pakistan have held a quadrilateral video conference regarding the Afghan peace process, where they encouraged the conflict sides to halt violence and engage into intra-Afghan negotiations. 

The foreign ministry of Iran has issued a joint statement of the meeting. The representatives had announced their country’s support to the Afghan-own and Afghan-led peace process, said the statement. “Intra-Afghan talks are the only realized, reconciled and national way to end the longest conflicts.”

Referring to the foreign troops withdrawal, the representatives said that troops’ pullout should regular and responsible, thus the process do not impact the situation in Afghanistan.  The foreign troops pull out would be observed by Moscow, Iran, China and Pakistan, the statement said. The representatives have expressed concerns over the threats of terrorists in Afghanistan and urged the related sides to take serious actions against Al-Qaeda, IS-K (Daesh), Junbish Turkistan and Pakistani Taliban’s Tahrik.

They have welcomed the power sharing agreement between President Ashraf Ghani and his rival Abdullah Abdullah, and hoped that this would pave acceleration of intra-Afghan talks.

Based on the agreement signed between the two Afghan leaders, Abdullah would be leading the Consultative High Council, with continuing the Afghan peace process and making the decision in regards.

The intra-Afghan negotiations were set to be held after a ten-day period of time of the US-Taliban peace deal signed on 19th of February in Doha. But the Afghan government and Taliban are struggling with lack of trust and a state of mistrust towards each other, as the sides still arguing each other on fulfillment of the prisoners swap process and other principals of the US-Taliban peace deal. 

The US Department of State in a statement said that ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, the US special envoy for Afghanistan reconciliation has flown to Qatar to visit the Taliban Qatar based office and discuss the implementation of the US-Taliban peace deal, including a significant reduction of violence.

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