The Afghanistan High Peace Council says it has maintained “direct and indirect” contacts with the Taliban, insisting that if the militant group reaches into an agreement with the government, the council will work on a timeline for withdrawal of foreign troops from the war-torn country.
As part of the efforts to end the 16-year-old war in the country that has been on “frontline” of fight against terrorism in the region, the High Peace Council says it has begun direct talks with the Taliban – which have repeatedly rejected dialogue with Kabul government in the past – but stresses that the council will not reveal the details yet.
“If we reach into an agreement with the Taliban, we will prepare a timeline for withdrawal of foreign forces [from the country] and will resolve this issue,” said Sayed Ehsan Tahiri, spokesman of the High Peace Council. “There have been direct and indirect contacts with the group [in this regard].”
This comes as recently, Russia’s envoy for Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov said the Taliban has asked for financial support to the group in talks with Russian representatives, adding that the Taliban illegally buy all the weapons they need from the Afghan government and police and just need money for that.
“We laughed with Taliban representatives about it, and I’ll tell you why. They (Taliban) say they wouldn’t mind if we gave them weapons, but they don’t need weapons. They (Taliban) say “give us money, we’re buying weapons from the stocks of the Afghan army and police,” Kabulov said, as quoted by The Associated Press.
He said Moscow’s contacts with the Taliban aim to ensure the safety of Russian citizens in Afghanistan and encourage the group to join peace talks.
“The countries that are opposed to U.S. policy in Afghanistan, they support the Taliban and that paves way for escalation of [the ongoing] war and kill more Afghans,” said a military expert, Javid Kohistani.
Criticizing the government over failure to bring Taliban to the negotiation table, some Afghan parliamentarians, meanwhile called for shut down of High Peace Council, as they believe the council has been failed in attempts for reconciliation with the Taliban.
By Shakib Mahmud and Fawad Naseri