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Govt’s Negotiating Team Members: ‘We Are Not Aware of the Selection’

(Last Updated On: November 30, 2018)

Some members of the government’s negotiating team for peace talks with the Taliban say they are not aware of their selection, insisting that the President’s Office has not consulted them in this regard yet.

It has been a week since the list of government’s 12-member negotiating team has been shared with the people.

The team includes:  Ghani’s chief of staff Abdul Salam Rahimi, Mohammad Mirwais Balkhi, Minister of Education, Hasina Safi, Minister of Information and Culture, Abdul Tawab Balakarzai, Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Alema, Deputy Minister of Refugees and Repatriation, General Ebadullah Ebad, Deputy of National Directorate of Security, Shahgul Rezaee, Member of Wolesi Jirga, Attaullah Ludin, Member of Ulema Council, Shamim Katawazai, governor of Paktia province, Abdullah Attai, Member of Supreme Court, Tooryali Ghiasi, Director of Cultural Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Abdul Hakim Muneeb, Deputy Minister of Haj and Religious Affairs

However, some members of the formulated team expressed “unawareness” regarding the issue.

“We have been included in the team, but we are not even aware of our selection so far,” said Abdul Munib who is also the head of Islamic Revolution Movement of Afghanistan. “We have not been consulted in this regard.” 

The negotiating team was announced by President Ashraf Ghani on the second day of the two-day Geneva Conference where he also revealed the formation of a new advisory board.

The board is comprised of nine committees including Political Leaders Committee, Political Parties Committee, Youth Affairs Committee, Women’s Affairs Committee, Ulema Committee, Provincial Leaders Committee, Civil Society and Cultural Committee and Private Sector Committee and Refugees and Diaspora Committee.

However, some political parties said that the negotiating team should have been comprised of representatives from political parties, civil society, and tribal elders.

“Over the last 17 years, they [the Taliban] refuse to negotiate with the government. The team which has been introduced should have had representatives of political parties, civil society, and tribal elders,” said Abdul Satar Murad, a member of Jamiat-e-Islami party.

This comes as the Taliban has rejected the government’s negotiating team and insisted on having direct talks with the United States.

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