Delegates Cautiously Optimistic On Future Of Talks With Taliban

The Intra-Afghan Dialogue Conference entered its second day on Monday where more than 50 delegates from Afghanistan and 17 representatives of the Taliban have attended on their “personal capacity” to discuss issues around the future of the peace efforts in the war-ravaged country. 

The first day of the meeting was focused on wide-ranging discussions about the women’s rights, the freedom of the press, civilians protection, ceasefire, foreign forces withdrawal, the post-peace deal government, and other relevant issues, according to few delegates interviewed by TOLOnews.

A delegate of the meeting, Shahgul Rezaee, said there is a need for time to judge about “real changes” in the Taliban’s perception about their “relations” with Afghans.

She said that the Taliban’s attack in Ghazni on Sunday indicates that there are many problems in relations of the Taliban with the Afghan people and that there is no “serious change” in Taliban’s stance on civilians protection.

The attack in Ghazni left 12 dead, mostly civilians and 150 others, including 50 schoolchildren.

“We need time to judge whether [peace] talks will have a result,” she said.

Another delegate of the meeting, Anarkali Honaryar, said that participation of the Taliban around one table with women delegates “is a big change”.

“Time will prove that how much the Taliban is firm on taking practical steps on what they discussed [in the meeting with Afghan delegates in Doha]. The Taliban talked about women’s rights, but time will prove that what they will do in practice,” she said.

Talking reporters, a spokesman of the Taliban, Suhail Shaheen, said the group is ready to entering intra-Afghan issues, including a ceasefire, when a timetable on foreign forces withdrawal from Afghanistan is announced.

“We exchanged views on elections, ceasefire, civilian casualties and the future government with the Taliban,” said Ghairat Baheer, a delegate of Doha conference.

“Talking about a ceasefire is a little big demand and I don’t think an agreement will be made on a ceasefire, at this stage,” said Baheer.

He said that a committee should be also created for the follow up the result of the conference.

Sources said that Norway has been added to the list of the countries which are interested to host official peace talks of Afghanistan.

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