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Taliban put conditions to attend Istanbul Conference

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KABUL: As the U.S. and NATO Forces are withdrawing and Afghans pins hope on a senior-meeting in Turkey to reach a peace settlement and end the longest war- the insurgents put preconditions to attend the Istanbul Conference.

Some top Taliban official talking on condition of anonymity quoted by VOA Pashto as saying that they have three conditions for Istanbul Conference. The group would participate if the meeting is set for a short term, the agenda didn’t include important issues, and the presence of Taliban delegations is at a low level.

“Our leadership offered that the Istanbul Conference should not prolong more than three days,” a Taliban official said.

Another insurgent’s official also confirmed the group’s preconditions for participation in the meeting.

The Istanbul Meeting was offered by the U.S. to the government and Taliban after the two sided appeared reluctant to reach any breakthrough. The conference was delayed twice from its due date of April 16 and April 24 due to the insurgents’ opposition to attend it. The Taliban last month said that the details of the meeting were not shared with the group and therefore they didn’t want to attend. For their second denial of attending in meeting, the group brought the presence of the foreign troops as excuse, saying that its members would not participate any meeting before the withdrawal of foreign forces.  

The officials quoted by VOA hinted that the militants decided to attend the Turkey Conference based on Pakistan and Qatar governments’ demands. However, the sources didn’t provide details that who would represent the group in Istanbul Conference.

A member of the Afghan negotiating team, Nader Nadery said that they didn’t receive any of such information in regards.

The Taliban official said that his leadership didn’t want the conference to be a decision-making and that they opposed the inclusion of a “specific agenda” in this meeting. According to these officials, the insurgents would neither in Istanbul Conference nor in Doha negotiations agree on a ceasefire.

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