The Kabul Times.
Politics

New peace negotiating team to break peace talks deadlock

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US special peace envoy for Afghanistan has informed of important meeting with President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, saying that men, women and young would join in intra-Afghan dialogue in Doha.
Meanwhile, Afghanistan government announced Sunday that it had named a council of senior political leaders who will appoint negotiators, create their mandate for talks and oversee their work.
The first meeting of the council was chaired by the country’s President to follow Afghanistan peace process. The meeting was attended by former president Hamid Karzai, Abdul Rasoul Sayaf, Mohammad Muhaqiq, Ismail Khan and number of senior political leaders, high-ranking government officials, and representatives of civil society organizations, religious figures and women.
High Reconciliation Council is determined to appoint and select the new peace negotiating team for talks with the Taliban group. Decision regarding agenda and members of the team for intra-Afghani dialogue was the second issue discussed in the council’s meeting.
President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, in opening the first meeting of the new council, expressed happiness and thanked political leaders for creating a unified front under the government’s umbrella.
“With complete unity for the sake of a better future for our country, we will make decisions about the aims of this process and the makeup of the negotiating team,” President Ghani said.
So far, peace talks have occurred only between US officials and the Taliban group, without the presence of Afghanistan government, an impasse that all have struggled to break.
Both US officials and representatives of the Taliban group are near an agreement on the withdrawal of US forces and on a Taliban pledge that Afghan soil would not be used by terrorist groups to attack the United States and its allies.
High Reconciliation Council has been formed amid increasing of efforts and preparations for upcoming Peace Consultative Jirga set to be held in two weeks in Kabul with participation of hundreds of Afghan elders and representatives of all classes.
The progress was welcomed by US special peace envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad, who is leading the peace efforts. Khalilzad spent much of the past week in Kabul trying to urge the government of Afghanistan to introduce an inclusive negotiating team for direct peace talks with the Taliban in Doha. “Ambassador Khalilzad was pleased to see the Afghans with whom he met, inside and outside government, coming together to put peace first,” the United States Embassy in Kabul, said in a statement announcing his departure. “Ambassador Khalilzad underscored the imperative of reducing violence across Afghanistan in the coming weeks and explored ways to build broader regional support for the current effort to realize the Afghan people’s yearning for peace.” It is also worth mentioning that during a side trip to Pakistan on Friday, US special peace envoy for Afghanistan held meetings with Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan, the country’s foreign minister and army chief of staff to discuss Afghanistan peace process.
Lailuma Noori

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The Kabul Times.