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Moscow talks a turning point, Atmar

KABUL: Presidential candidate Haneef Atmarsaid Sunday that Moscow conference will be a turning point for an inclusive ‘intra-Afghan dialogue’, announcing that he will attend the talks in Russia along with other leaders of the country.

The talks will be held on 5th and 6th February but the Afghan government has not been invited to attend the talks in order to pave the ground for Taliban participation at the event as a senior Russian government official put it last week.

A delegation from the Taliban led by Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, former head of Taliban’s Qatar office, will also attend the Moscow talks, according to sources close to the Taliban.

Atmar said in a tweet that they “will defend an Islamic Republic system, the values of the Constitution, achievements and legacies Afghans share”.

Atmar said, “We will also insist on making intra-Afghan talks inclusive, but we call on government to not look at the peace process from a narrow window and respect the role of the political parties and the nation in efforts for peace and in safeguarding the system and national institutions.”

Foreign Ministry has however said that talks will help the peace process and that the Russian government should respect an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process.

“Holding such meetings will not help us reach peace. We did not and do not see such meetings as necessary and will not attend this meeting,” MoFA spokesman Sebghat Ahmadi said.

The High Peace Council acknowledged on Saturday that members of the institution were also not invited to attend the Moscow talks.

“Afghanistan High Peace Council is not officially invited to Moscow meeting and no one is attending on behalf of the High Peace Council,” the HPC spokesman Sayed Ehsan Taheri tweeted. “We will wait to see the outcomes of the event and will make our views known afterwards.”

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