Asia - pacific

Afghan gov’t picks delegates to meet Taliban in Qatar

Taliban insists they will not meet Kabul peace delegation as representatives of Afghan government

Shadi Khan Saif   | 16.04.2019
Afghan gov’t picks delegates to meet Taliban in Qatar

KABUL, Afghanistan 

The Afghan government on Tuesday finalized a list of delegates, including women, for peace talks with the Taliban later this month.

Shah Hussain Murtazawi, deputy spokesman of President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, released a list of 250 politicians, government officials and civil society activists to hold talks with the Taliban in the Qatari capital Doha.

Among the delegates are 52 women to represent the Afghan government for the next round of Doha talks with no dates announced yet.

Officials said the talks among the U.S., the Taliban and representatives from Afghanistan would take place later this month.

It is going to be a second interaction between the Afghan government and the Taliban in past two months. A relatively smaller in size but high profile informal delegation led by former Afghan President Hamid Karzai met the Taliban in Russia’s capital Moscow in early February.

“No one will partake in the conference [in Doha] as a representative of the Kabul administration. Just like the previous Moscow Conference, any individual who is part of the Kabul administration and is listed as a participant will only participate in a personal capacity and share personal views”, Zabihullah Mujahed, the Taliban spokesman, said earlier in April.

In a latest tweet on Tuesday, Mujahed said the Taliban believe participation of women in peace talks is not necessary.

“…women will partake in the upcoming intra-Afghan conference, just like those in Moscow. We said nothing relating to women in negotiation team & neither do we believe it is necessary”.

Meanwhile, Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. special envoy for Afghan reconciliation, called on the Taliban for a ceasefire.

“The quickest way to prevent casualties is to agree on a ceasefire. Taliban senior leadership should allow their representatives to come to the table and discuss. I will continue to press the case”, he said on Tuesday.

The U.S.-led talks are aimed at ending the 17-year war in Afghanistan.

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