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Efforts underway for Istanbul conference

AT News

KABUL: The state ministry for peace affairs is expecting the Taliban to attend the Istanbul Conference but the due time is of holding the meeting is yet to be specified.

An official of the peace ministry, Azizullah Fazli said that the government negotiating team met the Taliban delegation last Friday, discussing the preparation for the participation in the Istanbul Meeting.

This was the first meeting held between the warring sides after a longtime delay in negotiations as the Taliban put the withdrawal of American service members as a precondition for resumption of talks.

“It is highly expected that the Taliban are also ready to attend Turkey Conference,” Fazli said. “The government of Afghanistan always said that we are ready for peace in which the wishes of all Afghans are ensured.”

Mohammad Naeem , the Taliban spokesman in Doha, where the insurgents maintain a political office said earlier that there was no progress regarding the facilitation of Istanbul conference.

But he said that the group was ready to resume the intra-Afghan negotiations in Doha.

 “We are conducting regular meetings, the contact has not been cut off, we are ready for the talks to move forward,” Naeem said.

a former member of the Taliban, Mawlavi Qalamuddin said that the U.S. told the group that it had shared the prisoners release issue with the government and that “you (Taliban) should resume the talks.

But a spokesman for the high council for national reconciliation, Faraidoon Khawzon said that Taliban should meet their demands on the negotiation table.

A spokesman for President Ashraf Ghani, Mohammad Amiri said that the preparation has been accelerated for participation in Istanbul conference. “The government is ready to actively attend the Istanbul Conference,” he said. “There efforts are underway for Istanbul Conference but the time is yet to be specified.”

The senior-meeting of Istanbul was offered by the U.S. to the government and Taliban after the two sides appeared reluctant to reach any breakthrough in the intra-Afghan negotiations held in Doha.

The U.S. President Joe Biden in April announced that he would exit all American service members without considering any condition by September 11. The withdrawal of U.S. forces kicked off on May 1.

The U.S. commander of the central command, Kenneth F. McKenzie said that the exit has been conducted from 13 to 20 percent.

In his speech to the U.S House Foreign Affairs Committee, the U.S special envoy for Afghanistan reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad said that the fears of Taliban overrunning the Afghan security forces and conquering of the country after the withdrawal of coalition troops are “overblown”.

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