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Govt. attempts to delay intra-Afghan talks

Sabotaging success of Doha peace talks is a “betrayal” to the Afghan nation

AT News Report

KABUL: In recent weeks, a political disaster of epic proportions has befallen upon Afghan officials in the Presidential Palace over appointing a team to sit for talks with Taliban members under umbrella of “national team” who are not representing Afghan government.

Former official casted shadow over intention of Presidential Palace over assigning a team to join the Afghan influential figures to take part in 19 April peace talks in Qatar—the follow-up of Moscow talks—a first ever intra-Afghan get to gather with core aim of ending decade-long conflict in Afghanistan.

But it did not suit the government as it started sabotaging the process through one or other way from the very beginning. “It would be a “great betrayal to the Afghan nation” if Qatar peace process be sabotaged by the Afghan government,” a former adviser to ex-government Shahzada Masoud told Afghanistan Times on Friday.

Why it takes long for the government to assign officials to attend the talks, he questioned, and said government has been doing this to interrupt the process, which according to him, it is not possible as the Afghan masses have been desperately waiting for peace to be prevailed.

It has been over a week now that the government has been scrambling to appoint peace team, where according to the ex-official, it speaks louder about negative intention of the government toward peace the process.

“No one would be allowed to hinder the ongoing peace efforts,” he warned, and said the upcoming Consultative Loya Jirga for peace has also failed as the Taliban rejected participations.

“Loya Jirga must be inclusive, where Afghans from all walk of society see its representatives, and only issues of national interest to be discussed,” he said, terming it a symbolic Jirga where of no use at the moment.

Government is a making all-out efforts to delay Doha peace talks as it wants Peace Jirga to be done first, he said.

Umer Daudzai, Head of High Peace Council’s Secretariat and President Ghani’s Special Peace Envoy once said Taliban representative likely to be invited in Jirga, in which the participants will make read lines in talks with the group.

However, Taliban group no only rejected participation, but termed it a symbolic one aimed at prolonging Kabul administration stay in power.

The group’s spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid in a statement said that “Kabul administration” has been scrambling for its survival, and that’s why announced conveying a Consultative Loya Jirga for Peace.

Anyways, the meeting between Afghan politicians and the Taliban which was initially scheduled for April 14 was postponed to April 19 as per the decision of the newly established Reconciliation Leadership Council.

Separately, the list of members of the reconciliation council is to be finalized next week. A seven-man commission was appointed on Wednesday to prepare the list of the reconciliation council and a small leadership council.

For the first time, a government team is supposed to attend a meeting that also hosts Taliban representatives. Taliban have not yet accepted sitting with the Ghani administration delegation. The government’s delegation is scheduled to fly to Doha before the Qatar meeting.

Mohammad Mohaqiq, Deputy Chief Executive of the country, who has been part of the Leadership Council for Reconciliation, said the Doha talks were delayed for another three or four days after the leadership council failed to agree on the list of the participants.

“The delay is because of the discussions to prepare a list of the influential figures of the country, who should be able to represent various parts of the country” he said, adding “such discussions and decisions are difficult and need time to be taken.”

He said the decision to delay the Doha meeting was already coordinated with the Taliban.

Muhaqiq provided the information after the leadership council for reconciliation today (Wednesday) held the 2nd meeting to discuss the selection of the delegation, who will take part in talks with the Taliban.

Muhaqiq said “a national delegation will travel to Doha, who will be comprised of the political leaders and members of the government.”

The next meeting of the Reconciliation Leadership Council will be held today “Saturday” in which they are expected to finalize the list of the participants.

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