Tue, Oct

Kabul To Host Key Meeting On Peace Talks


The Afghan Foreign Ministry on Tuesday announced that Kabul will host a key meeting on peace talks between Afghanistan, Pakistan, United States and China next week.

Foreign Ministery Deputy Spokesperson Khairullah Azad said the decision to hold the meeting was taken during the recent visit of Pakistan's Chief of Army Staff Raheel Sharif to Kabul.

"It was decided that a meeting among Afghan, Pakistani, American and Chinese officials should be held in the first few days of January in order to map out the way forward for the peace talks [between the Afghan government and the Taliban]," he said.

About goals of the meeting, he said: "The talks will involve those militants that are interested in peace talks; while other [militant] groups will be fought jointly."

A member of the High Peace Council (HPC), Haji Din Mohammad, who attended the first round of the peace talks, said the meeting will determine the mechanisms of the talks.

"The mechanisms of the peace talks will be fixed in the meeting and it will be decided what steps should be taken," he said.

"The meeting will talk about ways of building trust between the Afghan government and Afghan Taliban - also [trust] between Pakistan's government and Pakistani Taliban."

This comes after a close source to President Ashraf Ghani told TOLOnews that the president drew three redlines regarding peace talks with the Taliban during his meeting on Sunday with Sharif.

In this meeting, Ghani reportedly laid down the law and said discussions need to be clear on three points - the protection of democratic institutions; Pakistan needs to give its honest cooperation regarding peace and that the Taliban should join the talks from the position of a group and not as a parallel government or Islamic Emirate, the source said Monday.

Referring to this, Din Mohammad said: "Afghan government cannot wait for an agreement among Taliban's different groups in order to come to Afghanistan and talk about peace. Reports reveal that rifts among Taliban have increased, therefore the president said that Kabul is ready to talk with those who are ready for peace."

Meanwhile, Pakistani officials have said that Ghani and Sharif have agreed to both fight the war on terror, to resume peace talks and to exchange intelligence information.