The Kabul Times.
Politics

Afghanistan asking Taliban for participation in Istanbul meeting

By: Lailuma Noori

Afghanistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) says Taliban and Pakistan should know that Turkey’s Istanbul meeting is an opportunity and should not be lost.
The ministry says Kabul is working with Turkey, Qatar, US and UN in connection with peace process particularly the Istanbul meeting.
According to Turkish ministry of foreign affairs, Istanbul meeting is set to be held on 24 April, but Taliban has refused to participate in the meeting due to the fact that US troop withdrawal process from Afghanistan will not happen on 1 May.
Minister of foreign affairs Mohammad Hanif Atmar has said that Taliban should reach to a political agreement in consideration to their obligations.
Turkey’s Istanbul meeting is considered as the most significant conferences on future of Afghanistan and the international community is anticipating Afghans can reach an agreement on ending the war and formation of a transition peace government in Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has also said that his government welcomes any peace initiatives, but saying that Taliban has rejected the opportunity for peace in Afghanistan.
Taliban should be prepared to make use of the historic opportunity for peace in Afghanistan. If the group is thinking of winning or victory, they’re completely wrong. The coming Istanbul meeting is not as other meetings of the intra-Afghan talks in Doha, where the group continually wasted the time for peace in the country.
If the coming Istanbul meeting faces with failure due to any possible reason, it means that one of the historic opportunities of peace will be lost. The Taliban group should perceive the importance of the Istanbul meeting and get preparation to participate at the meeting.
Afghan political experts believe that increasing complicated intelligence games and interests of regional countries have made the situation complicated enough as increasing threats in connection with increasing insecurities, explosions and targeted killings have changed life to hell for the Afghan people.
It seems that Taliban has no intention for peace in Afghanistan; instead, they are working for the interests of foreign countries rather than their own country as the group has intensified fighting against Afghanistan government and people since the US – Taliban deal signed in late February last year.
Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said that despite the American troops returning home from Afghanistan, the US’s partnership with Afghanistan will continue.

“By our enduing to support to Afghanistan economically, diplomatically, politically I do want to say that as we proceed, we will remember the extraordinary courage, strength and sacrifices our troops who served in Afghanistan in the past two decades,” added Blinken.
“As now we are embarking on a new chapter in our partnership with the Afghan people,” he said.
Blinken warned the Taliban against attacking the US forces as they are withdrawing from Afghanistan, saying any attack by the Taliban will be faced with forceful response.
“We will continue to support Afghan national security forces, but importantly we are doing everything we can now to advance diplomacy to bring in regional and international partners,” Blinken said.
Consequently, it can be said that despite of all challenges facing Istanbul peace meeting, there is hope that the meeting will be held in an appropriate opportunity. The people of Afghanistan are expecting the conference can end the continued war and bring peace to the country.

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The Kabul Times.