Presidential Citadel denies start of Peace Talks with Taliban

(Last Updated On: May 4, 2015)

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President spokesman made a statement to consider the trip of members of High Peace Council to Qatar was to attend a summit and denied the start of Peace Talks with the armed Taliban group.

Afghan government officials and Taliban militants began two days of meetings on Sunday in the gulf state of Qatar, and for once neither side denied that the sessions were taking place.

Both were also quick to insist that they were not holding peace talks. A statement by the Taliban called the meetings a “research conference,” while Afghan government officials described them as “scientific discussions.”

The closed-door talks hosted by Qatar’s foreign ministry represent a tentative sign of life in the effort to end the devastating 13-year-old war in Afghanistan.

The informal talks, hosted by Qatar’s foreign ministry, came as fighting escalated after the withdrawal of most U.S. and allied troops. The Taliban recently launched an offensive in northern Afghanistan that brought its fighters to the outskirts of Kunduz city, a provincial capital.

According to Reuters, Participants in Sunday’s meeting in Al-Khor, a seaside town north of Doha, emerged from the venue smiling and laughing on Sunday but refused to talk to waiting reporters.

One Taliban participant in the talks told Reuters by telephone late on Sunday that an eight-member Taliban delegation, headed by Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai, had held direct dialogue with Afghan officials.

“After the dialogue began, ‎our people gave demands and conditions in written form and … distributed copies among all the participants,” he said on condition of anonymity.

“Then the dialogue started openly, and the Afghan delegation and Qayyum Kochai, uncle of (Afghan) President Ashraf Ghani, demanded we stop our fighting and announce a ceasefire. They called us brothers and advised us to come to Afghanistan and obey the Afghan constitution,” he said.

In the meantime, Afghanistan Wolesi Jirga- the lower house of parliament are said to not believe Pakistan provide facilities for peace talks between Afghan government and Taliban.

They said that Pakistan has always sought to deceive Afghansitan and would never bring Taliban to the negotiation table.

However, Afghan government considers peace one of the top priorities of the government but it had not any achievements in the process so far.

Pakistan has long been seen as an important potential broker of any peace process between the Afghan government and the Taliban, given that many insurgent leaders have found continued shelter there. But the Qatari conference represented an effort by the Taliban to strike out independently of the Pakistanis.

Reported by Ahmad Farshad Saleh

 

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