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Taliban meets Indonesian clerics on upcoming 3-way meet

Indonesian clerical body official has yet to confirm exact date, location of meeting set for August

Pizaro Gozali   | 30.07.2019
Taliban meets Indonesian clerics on upcoming 3-way meet

JAKARTA, Indonesia

A Taliban delegation on Tuesday met Indonesian clerics to discuss an upcoming trilateral meeting with Afghan and Pakistani clerics in August, Indonesia’s clerical body confirmed.

Yunahar Ilyas, vice-chair of the Indonesian Ulama Council (MUI), said the Taliban will attend the upcoming trilateral forum, but he has yet to confirm its exact date and location.

"This time, they will officially attend. We hope that peace in Afghanistan can be realized," Ilyas told Anadolu Agency.

A Taliban delegation met the council’s board in the capital Jakarta on Tuesday to discuss the current situation in Afghanistan.

"They said the U.S. is ready to leave. So the Taliban intends to make peace with the Afghan government and ask for Indonesian support," said Ilyas.

Initiative of Indonesian vice president

Zaitun Rasmin, the council’s deputy secretary-general, welcomed the Taliban's readiness to take part in the meeting of clerics from all three countries.

“Because all this time, the Taliban delegation was represented at peace dialogues by Pakistani clerics,” Rasmin told Anadolu Agency.

"This Taliban attendance cannot be separated from the role of Vice President Jusuf Kalla, who has been persistent [in inviting the Taliban]," he added.

According to Rasmin, the Taliban sees Indonesia’s sincerity in pursuing peace in Afghanistan and uprooting the problem in the country.

"The vice president [of Indonesia] always said that there could be no peace without the Taliban’s maximal involvement and power-sharing with Kabul," he said.

Rasmin also said he hoped the Taliban would always be involved in peace dialogues initiated by Indonesian clerics.

"Now they are convinced by the Indonesian government and clerics," he said.

In an exclusive interview with Anadolu Agency last month, Kalla said that Indonesia would continue to help build peace in Afghanistan.

Kalla said the challenge to achieve peace in Afghanistan is not easy and needs more time and urged reconciliation between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

"We offer the idea of reconciliation with power-sharing between both parties," he said.

In May 2018, Indonesia hosted a trilateral meeting of Indonesian, Pakistani, and Afghan ulemas (Muslim scholars’ group) as a part of efforts to build mutual trust.

The ulemas' opinions were written in the Bogor Ulema Declaration for Peace, which contains 12 points of view on peace based on God’s message, the Holy Quran, and the Prophet’s Sunnah as discussed at the conference.

The declaration called for efforts to resolve the conflict in Afghanistan.

Over the weekend, a Taliban delegation held a closed-door meeting with Kalla and clerics from Indonesia’s biggest Muslim organization, Nahdlatul Ulama.

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