AT-KABUL: The government-led high peace council claims that representatives from government and Taliban group participated in an unofficial meeting to talk about the peace process, an allegation refused by both government and the militant group.
There were reports that a government delegation talked to Taliban representatives last week in Turkey.
“What is important is that the meeting was held unofficially, so, individuals from both sides took part in,” said Aminoddin Mozaffari, a spokesman for the peace council, adding that more talks were expected in the future.
But the government denied any meeting with Taliban in Istanbul city, with the president’s spokesman, Shah Hossain Mortazawi, who wrote in his Facebook account that those participated in the meeting, did not represent the “government of Afghanistan.
Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the militants also rejected the group’s participation in the meeting.
Homayoun Jarir, member of the high peace council, said that five “important” members of the Taliban who represented the group’s leader were present in the meeting. Jarir did not identify them.
The peace council said that Monday was the last day of the meeting.
Government and Taliban representatives had held unsuccessful talks in the past, but this time the Hezb-e-Islami party that gave up opposition to the government last year, intermediated the talks.
A political expert, Fazl Ahmad Manawi, called the meeting “symbolic”. “What took place in Turkey, was a symbolic and not real matter. The participants were unauthorized people and no consequence is expected from the talks.”
Sayed Akbar Agha, a former Taliban member believes that the group’s responsible members were not present in the talks. “Taliban members that are credible did not take part in the meeting. I don’t think the meeting would have a positive impact.”
But the peace council claims that representatives from government, Taliban and Hezb-e-Islami were present in the talks.