HPC Continues Efforts To Facilitate Intra-Afghan Talks

The High Peace Council (HPC) has started fresh efforts to facilitate direct talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban while critics continue to see Kabul as a “main obstacle” for the peace process.

“The High Peace Council is continuing its efforts to facilitate direct talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban,” said Jawed Ahmad Ghafoor, the HPC spokesman.

Last week, US chief negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad wrapped up the sixth round of his talks with senior Taliban members in Doha with steady but slow progress as he later described.

The Afghan government proposed two lists, one for 22 individuals for negotiating team and a list of 37 members for the Reconciliation Leadership Council. The council, the government said, will play the role of a consultation hub for bigger issues around the peace process.

The council has held two meetings so far.

“The delegation was expected to travel to Doha, but there was a list of 250 people and talks with such a large number of people were not possible. Personally, I was also not satisfied with the structure of the team,” said Hajji Din Mohammad, member of the Reconciliation Leadership Council.

“The peace Jirga called on the government to form a delegation for talks, but the government so far has not finalized this team,” said Ahmadullah Alizai, former governor of Kabul.

Critics said the Afghan government itself is a hurdle on the way of peace.

“The incumbent government has changed to the main obstacle for peace,” said presidential candidate Mohammad Haneef Atmar, who addressed a gathering in Kabul on Tuesday.

“The current government is a hurdle on the way of peace in Afghanistan,” said Ahmad Wali Massoud, another presidential candidate, who addressed the same gathering.

Sources close to the Taliban have accused the Afghan politicians of committing inattention when it comes to face-to-face talks with the Taliban.

“The Taliban has persistently said that they have not any problem with the politicians and the Afghan nation. Unfortunately, our politicians are not serious about this,” said Mawlavi Abdul Shakur Mutmaen, an analyst and a former Taliban member.

Meanwhile, the US and NATO Forces Commander in Afghanistan Gen. Scott Miller in a meeting with Herat officials on Tuesday said they remain committed to peace as well as to supporting the Afghan forces in their fight against militants.

“I am committed to peace but at the same time I know there is a fight and we remain committed to supporting you in that fight,” Miller said.

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