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Germany could host intra-Afghan talks in late June

3 days of talks on Afghanistan in Moscow end, disappointingly for some, with all sides looking ahead to talks in June

Elena Teslova   | 31.05.2019
Germany could host intra-Afghan talks in late June

MOSCOW 

Another round of intra-Afghan talks could take place in Germany in late June, the head of the Afghan Jamiat-e Islami Party said on Thursday.

Atta Mohammad Nur said the exact date and place were not fixed during three days of meetings in Moscow which ended Thursday, but there are two major options on the table: Qatar's capital of Doha and Germany.

"We expect to have a new round in late June, but it’s not exact. The Germans said they are ready to host the talks so there’s a possibility Germany will host the talks. Another option is Doha," Nur told reporters in Moscow.

Commenting on the results of the Moscow meeting, he said: "The expectations were bigger."

The main hurdle was a cease-fire, he said, as most participants see a cease-fire as the beginning of peace.

"But there’s nothing about a cease-fire in the final statement, only a point about the need to continue talks on this issue. Another meeting can take place in late June, this will be the continuation of the talks we had here and we expect to achieve some results," Nur said.

Turning to the Afghan presidential election set for September, Nur said the Jamiat-e Islami Party's candidate is Mohammad Hanif Atmar, calling him "a decent man."

Nur criticized current President Ashraf Ghani as “not successful in his politics and he didn't manage to become a good leader, he couldn't keep his promises given to the people."

Another participant at the Moscow meeting, former Afghan President Hamid Karzai, was more optimistic about the meeting’s outcome, calling "very successful."

"Very nice, very very positive meeting,” he said.

“We had good discussions, we had good meetings, we are leaving very very happy. We discussed the cease-fire, we will continue discussion and also we discussed all important issues and we made some progress, spectacular progress on some issues and we will continue at our next meetings."

Karzai said the participants spoke about all the issues that are necessary for lasting peace in Afghanistan, how to bring peace there and "to put an end to the current occupation and to form a future government in Afghanistan with the participation of all Afghans."

"We affirm the withdrawal of foreign troops, we affirm there should be an Islamic state in Afghanistan and also that all Afghans should participate in future government," he said.

- Taliban 'dreams' of free Afghanistan

Taliban spokesman Mohammad Suhail Shaheen said the Taliban will be ready to talk with all Afghans, including those from the Ghani administration once the country is “liberated.”

"We oppose the election, because a real, transparent election cannot be held under occupation. This is our view. We want our country first to be liberated and then the Afghan people will decide its future.

"A free Afghanistan is one of our dreams, that is why we have made so many sacrifices," he said.

Shaheen added that the Taliban opposes a temporary cease-fire as it wants a permanent one, and this is possible only when foreign occupation ends.

He said the Taliban refuses to talk to the Afghan government because to end the occupation, it is necessary to talk to occupiers.

"And it is clear that the occupiers are the Americans," Shaheen said.

He dismissed as "black propaganda" reports that Pakistan is backing the Taliban and that the main Taliban office is located in Quetta, in Balochistan, near the border with Afghanistan.

"We are victims of black propaganda spread against us by our enemies. The government [being] in Quetta is propaganda, Pakistan's backing is propaganda," he said.

On May 28-30, Russia and Afghanistan celebrated the centenary of relations between the two countries. Moscow used the occasion to organize an informal meeting between various Afghan parties aiming to push the peace process.

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