Asia - Pacific

Afghan parliament wants Taliban to attend Istanbul meet

Parliamentarians dub conference in Turkey important opportunity for peace amid foreign troops withdrawal from Afghanistan

Shadi Khan Saif   | 19.04.2021
Afghan parliament wants Taliban to attend Istanbul meet

KABUL, Afghanistan

The Afghan parliament on Monday urged regional countries with clout over the Taliban to convince the group to attend the forthcoming Istanbul conference for peace in Afghanistan.

During a general session, the parliamentarians dubbed the conference in Turkey as an important opportunity for peace amid the withdrawal of all foreign troops from the war-ravaged country.

“Preserving the state structure, the Constitution, and securing rights and civic values remain among the important gains in the modern history of Afghanistan,” parliament speaker Mir Rehman Rehamni said, expressing optimism for a political agreement through the conference.

The Turkish government has scheduled the international conference from April 24 - May 4. With the Afghan government willing to dispatch a high-ranking delegation to the session, the Taliban have so far not expressed willingness to join, demanding the exit of foreign troops in line with the Doha agreement by May 2021.

Afghan Foreign Minister Haneef Atmar spoke by phone with his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Sunday, discussing the upcoming session in Turkey as well as regional cooperation in the light of foreign troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.

The Foreign Ministry said Atmar is set to visit Islamabad following the Istanbul conference on the invitation of his Pakistani counterpart.

In his announcement of the withdrawal plan from Afghanistan, US President Joe Biden said Washington will ask regional countries to “do more” to support Afghanistan, especially Pakistan, as well as Russia, China, India, and Turkey.

“They all have a significant stake in the stable future for Afghanistan,” he said, adding that over the next few months, Washington will also determine what a continued US diplomatic presence in Afghanistan will look like, including how to ensure the security of the diplomats.

In line with Biden’s announcement, all American troops will depart from Afghanistan by Sept. 11, the 20th anniversary of terrorist attacks in the US.

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