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Intra-Afghan talks could end nation’s agony, Abdullah

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KABUL: Abdullah Abdullah, Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation called for the completion of prisoners swap process and immediate start of the intra-Afghan negotiations to end the decades-long war in Afghanistan.

Peace is the main objective of the people of Afghanistan, and it was reflected in the Consultative Peace Jirga, and its historic decision to remove the remaining obstacles, Abdullah said.

“We are calling for the completion of the prisoner exchange, and immediate beginning of the intra-Afghan talks to put an end to agony of a nation,” Abdullah tweeted.

Abdullah made the remarks amid a Taliban delegation’s visit to Islamabad. The Taliban Qatar based spokesman, Suhail Shaheen said that the delegation led by the militants’ chief negotiator, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar. 

The intra-Afghan negotiations seem in a state of uncertainty as the government denied to free 320 Taliban prisoners, saying that the Taliban should release 20 Commandos held in its custody.

The National Security Council said that there was no progress made regarding the release of 320 Taliban prisoners but added that efforts were underway to find out a resolving path for the issue.

Talking to a news conference on Monday, a head of a meeting with the Taliban delegation, the Pakistani foreign minister, Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that hurdles on the path of intra-Afghan negotiations were removed.

“Our aim is peace and stability,” he said. “In this path, we should go forward through mutual cooperation and invite the Taliban.”

He didn’t provide details about the agenda of the meeting with the Taliban.

But Shaheen in a tweet said that delegation would hold talks on recent developments in Afghan peace, trade between the two countries and issues related to the Afghan refugees in Pakistan.

Earlier, spokesman for the ministry of state for peace affairs, Najia Anwari told Afghanistan that Kabul expected Islamabad’s sincere cooperation in the Afghan peace process. “The expectation of the people of Afghanistan from Pakistan is that the decisions it (Pakistan) takes and issues that it is working on, will be in the benefit of the Afghan peace process,” she said, “because peace in Afghanistan poses stability and welfare in the region.”

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