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‘Interim Govt.’ may be tabled for discussion: Abdullah

AT News

KABUL: Chairman of the High Council of National Reconciliation has hinted at the possibility of ‘interim government’ being tabled for negotiations in the intra-Afghan talks, which are expected to be launched next month.

Chairman Abdullah Abdullah told a video discussion hosted by the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) that all crucial issues, including forming an interim government, could possibly be added to the agenda of intra-Afghan talks.

He was quoted by the Russian news agency, Sputnik, as saying: “It’s still something hypothetical. We have to go to the table. We have to talk. If they want an interim government, that means something different. Everyone is free to talk in negotiations; they can make any suggestions. We have to be flexible in our views.”

He did, however, note that lessons from peace processes around the world demonstrated that unilateralism in this process was ineffective.

Abdullah acknowledged compromises would have to be made and not just by the Afghan government side. “If there are compromises, they have to be on both sides and for the sake of the common interest of the broader public.”

Meanwhile, Abdullah said the government was close to releasing all the promised 5,000 Taliban inmates in the near future.

This comes as a few weeks ago, President Ashraf Ghani, during a conference with the Atlantic Council, had stated that talking about interim government was something premature.

Aziz Rafiyee, chairman of the civil society association, said that unilateral concessions made to the Taliban would prove to benefit only the Taliban rather than the peace process.

This is while Qatari government has earlier informed of hosting the all-Afghan talks in Doha in July. However, Chairman Abdullah admitted that the Taliban had decided not to initiate intra-Afghan talks unless all 5,000 Taliban prisoners were released.

According to Abdullah, about 75 percent of Taliban prisoners requested by the group have been set free and the remaining would soon be released as well.

Meeting with USIP was Abdullah’s first public event since becoming chairman of the newly-established HCNR, following a political agreement with President Ashraf Ghani.

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