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Kabul to host 4th QCG meeting today

By Mansoor Faizy-KABUL: The National Unity Government (NUG) is going to host the 4th Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) meeting tomorrow (Tuesday) with a hope to hold direct talks with the Taliban and Hezb-i-Islami Afghanistan (HIA).

Representatives of Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and the United States will gather under one roof for the fourth time aimed at restoring the stalled peace talks between Afghan government and the Taliban. First round of the four-way talks was held in Islamabad. Kabul hosted the second round of talks. Again Pakistan hosted the third round.

“We look forward to the fourth meeting of the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) in Kabul tomorrow (Tuesday). We expect a date for first direct peace talks with Taliban as decided in the third QCG meeting,” said Javid Faisal, the deputy spokesman for Chief Executive Officer (CEO), on Monday.

In the third QCG meeting held in Islamabad on February 6, representatives from the four nations agreed on a roadmap to resume the stalled peace talks with the Taliban. First round of the face-to-face peace talks between Afghan government and the Taliban were stalled soon after the insurgent group confirmed death report of its long-time leader, Mullah Omar. Since then the Taliban had intensified attacks. The death report also led to widening rift among the Taliban commanders.

It is worth mentioning that the High Peace Council on Sunday confirmed that Pir Sayed Ahmad Ghilani has been appointment as head of the council. The council had no chief for long time.

The role of High Peace Council (HPC) at somehow seemed to be very rare in the four-nation talks to convince Taliban insurgents to shun violence and join the Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace and reconciliation process. But the appointed of HPC head can be taken as a positive step toward bringing the Taliban to table of talks.

A month ago, the spokesperson of the HPC, Mohammad Ismail Qasimyar, told Afghanistan Times that donors have stopped funding the council. “The fund of the HPC has been suspended by the donor countries for the last three months (by the end of their fiscal year). The donors said that the council yet to appoint a chief and also head of the secretariat,” he said.

He furthered that the United States, Japan, United Kingdom and Germany were the major donors who funded activities of the HPC. “The donors pledged to support the peace council financially at the London Conference. The donors have donated 50 million dollars, so far,” he asserted. In a response to a query he told Afghanistan Times that the US and Britain had suspended aid to the HPC.

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