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Efforts increasing to accelerate peace process

By Rafiullah Anwari

KABUL: As time edging for a senior-meeting on the Afghan peace process in Istanbul, Turkey is making indefatigable efforts to bring the Afghan politicians under a single umbrella to attend the meeting with a single point of view amid to end an unabated relentless war that rocked the country for decades.

Sources privy to the issue said that the conference was expected to be held on April 16 in Istanbul. The Istanbul senior-meeting was offered by the U.S. to stimulate the Afghan government and Taliban to reach a breakthrough over political power-sharing and most importantly ending the longest war in the American history.   

To formulate a flourishing conference in Istanbul, the Turkish Ambassador in Kabul is paying all-out offers with holding meetings with a number of influential political figures, including the Chairman of the High Council for the National Reconciliation.

“Ambassador Oguzhan Ertugrul met today with Chairman of the Council, Abdullah Abdullah, reviewed the preparations for the upcoming Turkey meeting,” the Turkey embassy said in tweet on Monday.

The Turkish ambassador also held talks with former jihadi leader, Abdul Rab Rasul Sayyaf, discussing the ongoing peace efforts ahead of the Istanbul conference.

“Unity of effort is needed in order not to miss this historical opportunity,” the embassy said in a tweet.

In the same day, Mr. Ertugrul met the Afghan minister of foreign affairs, Mohammad Haneef Atmar. The two sides reviewed the upcoming Istanbul meeting and the margins of Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process of ministerial summit in Dushanbe. According to the Turkish embassy, Ertugrul in a meeting with the former Jihadi leader, Hamed Gailani, exchanged views on the Afghan peace process.

The U.S. is pressing the Afghan and Taliban for forging a peace deal at a time while violence has been spilling over across the country. On Sunday, a Taliban car bombing triggered in Paghman district of the Kabul, killing three and wounding 12 others. The Taliban spokesman, Zabiullah Mujahid said that the bombing was conducted in response to the government forces’ operations on the militants in rural parts of the country.

The ambiguous of peace and war has driven the Afghans to a state of uncertainty on any type of effort being made for reconciliation in the country. Last year, the Afghan negotiating team engaged into direct negotiations with the Taliban delegation in Doha, where the militants maintain a political office, and where the militant also signed a peace deal with the U.S. after marathon rounds of peace negotiations. However, the talks lasted for over five months but didn’t conclude any result with the two sides pointing on each other.

But hopes still remain high on Turkey conference for ensuring reconciliation in Afghanistan as it includes the representatives of regional and world’s countries as well as top Afghan politicians and the Taliban officials.

A member of the high council for national reconciliation, Sayed Zaher Mutahari called the conference “historic and important” for Afghanistan, saying that “the government plus the influential politicians will participate the meeting with united point of view.”

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