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Peace Council poised to host AfPak cleric conference

AT-Kabul: High Peace Council is gearing up to host religious scholars from Pakistan and Afghanistan to discuss stalled peace process, just in the wake of talks between Afghan officials with the Taliban leadership in Saudi Arabia.

Karim Khalili, chief of the council, said that Kabul has been lobbying with Pakistan’s clerics for the ‘conference’ and made headways.

At a five-day workshop on “communications, negotiations and mediation for provincial peace committees” held by a German institution, he said that the Afghan delegation has met with Pakistani religious scholars and is holding workshops in Afghanistan and Pakistan to exchange views. “These are good successes,” Khalili said.

Khalili meanwhile rejected the reports on Taliban’s talks with Afghan officials in Saudi Arabia.

“So far no official and direct talks has taken place between government and Taliban, between the High Peace Council and the Taliban. Anything that has been said so far are rumors,” he said.

“The preliminary talks that have taken place between the US and the Taliban, although they have failed in the first instance, stir hope as a prelude to kick stating an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace process but we know that both trust in each other and a joint vision of a prosperous Afghanistan is key,” said Hans Joachim Giessmann is Executive Director at the Berghof Foundation.

German Ambassador in Kabul Peter Prügel said that Berlin will continue its political and economic support to peace and stability in Afghanistan.

“This peace process should be an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace process. And this is what we and the international community, Germany and the foundation are in favor of,” said German ambassador Peter Prügel.

The Afghan government has hosted many conferences on peace this year. The meetings held in the country and abroad include the Second Kabul Process Meeting in June, gathering of over 2,000 Afghan clerics in Kabul in March, the Islamic Countries Religious Scholars Meeting in Indonesia in March, Tashkent Peace Summit on Afghanistan in March, Islamic Scholars Meeting in Saudi Arabia in March and the US Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Allice Wells’ meeting with Taliban representatives in Qatar in July.

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