It is determined that peace negotiating team will be soon appointed by government for talks with the Taliban group. The government of Afghanistan has accelerated debates with political parties and civil society organizations to introduce new members of negotiating team for talks with the Taliban group.
“Work on introduction of new members of the negotiating team is underway and willprobably be introduced in near future,” Shah Hussain Murtazavi, deputy spokesperson to President Ghani said.
He said that the government was focusing on combination of the team, unifying peace efforts and addressing concerns of political parties and civil society organizations over peace process.
Previously, Afghanistan government had introduced a 12-member negotiating team for direct talks with the Taliban group, but the team was criticized by political parties and civil society organizations as mostly members of the team were government officials.
US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad ended his two-day visit to Islamabad where he held meetings with Pakistani officials to discuss issues regarding the Afghan peace process and Pakistan’s role in this regard.
US special peace envoy for Afghanistan said in a tweet on Saturday evening that during his Islamabad visit, he thanked Pakistan for recent efforts supporting the Afghan peace process and for “re-affirming the understanding that ultimately Afghans, and Afghans alone, will determine their future”. He said that “always more work to be done”.
According to reports, Khalilzad will meet Afghan leaders again in Kabul, which will be a follow-up of his first meeting with the government leaders and Afghan politicians where they discussed the Afghan peace process and the upcoming Qatar meeting.
Before visiting Pakistan, Khalilzad was in Kabul for five day during which he met with Afghan leaders, politicians, civil society members, youths, women and tribal elders where they exchanged views on Afghanistan’s peace process.
A day before his trip to Pakistan, Khalilzad said Pakistan should change its policy towards Afghanistan; otherwise, “Islamabad and Washington’s ties will not improve”.
Meanwhile, Afghanistan government is working to create a unified team that can manage peace efforts and decide on the intra-Afghan meeting in Doha currently scheduled for mid-April.
It is worth mentioning that the fifth round of the peace talks between the US and Taliban negotiators in Qatar ended after 16 days weeks ago with agreement in draft between the two sides on some key issues under debate. In all round of peace talks between US and Taliban negotiators, representatives of Afghanistan government have not been present.
Soon after ending the fifth round of peace talks with representatives of the Taliban group in Doha, US special peace envoy for Afghanistan said in a tweet: “When the agreement in draft about a withdrawal timeline and effective counterterrorism measures is finalized, the Taliban and other Afghans, including the government, will begin intra-Afghan negotiations on a political settlement and comprehensive ceasefire.”