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Afghan delegation to attend multilateral peace talks in Russia

Press TV – November 5, 2018

An Afghan delegation will attend international talks on the war-torn country, which are scheduled to be held in the Russia capital Moscow this month.

The spokesman for the High Peace Council, Sayed Ihsan Taheri, said on Monday that the council would send four representatives to the meeting, which will focus on kick-starting peace talks between Kabul and the Taliban.

The HPC is a government body responsible for reconciliation efforts with militants.

The Afghan Foreign Ministry, however, did not say whether it would dispatch a delegation to the conference or not.

“We are still negotiating with the Russian officials,” spokesman Sebaghtullah Ahmadi said, adding, “We welcome any peace effort that is Afghan-led.”

Moscow has also invited representatives from the United States as well as Iran, India, China, Pakistan and five former Soviet republics in Central Asia to take part.

Russia said Saturday it would host the event on November 9 in the Russian capital. The meeting was initially scheduled to take place in September.

Taliban pledge to attend Moscow talks

Senior Taliban officials confirmed on Monday that the Afghan Taliban will join multilateral peace talks hosted by Russia on Friday.

A five-member Taliban delegation led by Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanakzai, head of the Taliban’s political council in Qatar, will attend.

“The majority of our top leaders showed the willingness to participate in the Moscow peace talks though some of them also expressed their reservations and said it would not give them any benefit on the ground in Afghanistan,” said a Taliban member.

Some Taliban members said the delegation would raise their demands for a withdrawal of all foreign forces, the release of all prisoners and the lifting of a ban on travel.

“This is a very good opportunity and we would like to participate and raise our genuine issues,” said another Taliban official. “We would urge these world powers to help resolve the Afghan issue as per international laws and principles.”

The Moscow talks will be held as newly-appointed US adviser to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad reportedly met with the Taliban representatives in Qatar in October with the declared aim of bringing the militant group to the negotiating table.

Zahid Hussain, a Pakistani defense analyst and author of two books on militancy in the region, earlier said the appointment of Khalilzad as a special adviser in Afghanistan could complicate his job. “He has been very critical of Pakistan in the past and his appointment will not help move things forward.”

Afghan people still face insecurity 17 years after the United States and its allies invaded the country as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror.

Although the Taliban militant group was removed from power as a result of the invasion, the country remains occupied and many areas are still threatened by insecurity.

November 5, 2018 - Posted by | Illegal Occupation | ,

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