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MoFA terms Qatar talks informal

AT-KABUL: Rejecting reports about direct talks between the Taliban and Afghan officials recently in Qatar, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) on Tuesday said the delegation that participated in the Pugwash conference on May 2 wasn’t assigned by the government but was informal.

The ministry’s spokesman Ahmad Shekib Mustaghni said the Doha talks were informal as the government officials who were invited had not participated in the conference.

Speaking at a press conference here, he said that those people who participated from Afghanistan in the conference had gone there in a personal capacity and had nothing to do with the government.  Only the High Peace Council (HPC) is authorized to talk with the insurgent groups and pursue the process, he added.

The spokesperson further said the government is trying to push forward the peace process.

At a time when MoFA rejects participation of Afghan officials in the conference in Doha, the Taliban indirectly propound their suggestion to the government of Afghanistan regarding peace talks by releasing a statement.

The statement was published on the Taliban’s website in which the group’s delegation after attending the conference offered conditions and suggestions for reaching peace in Afghanistan.

The Taliban sought complete withdrawal of foreign forces, amendments in the Afghan constitution, removal of the Taliban leaders’ names from the United Nations’ black list, establishment of a political office for the group and carving of realistic peace strategy by the Afghan government.

The Taliban said that if the conditions and suggestions were considered, it would open the way to peace. Direct talks with the group by the government instead of approaching the neighboring countries was another suggestion of the Taliban.

Seeking removal of the leaders’ name from the UN blacklist, the Taliban claimed that due to the ban they are currently unable to travel to countries for peace talks.

The Taliban also changed their stance on women’s rights. The insurgent group said that women would have right to education and to work, besides freedom of speech if they reach a peace deal.

On the other hand Ismail Qasemyar, member of the High Peace Council, said the suggestions were not provided directly to the HPC. He said the suggestions would be discussed if submitted to the HPC.

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