War should stop before peace talks: Afghan leaders
KABUL (PAN): Former jihadi leaders and religious scholars who met President Hamid Karzai on Thursday said they would not hold peace talks with the Taliban until the group renounced violence, Karzai's office said.
The meeting at the Presidential Palace concerned practical mechanisms and conditions for negotiations with rebel groups, according to a statement from the Presidential Palace. It said the peace talks should be Afghan-led.
The meeting was also attended by high government officials. The participants insisted that Taliban's offices should be established inside Afghanistan and that if Afghanistan's security condition was not favorable, the Taliban's office should be set up in Saudi Arabia or Turkey.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday said it had summoned the Afghan ambassador to Qatar home for "consultations," but sources say the ambassador, Khalid Ahmad Zakaria, was recalled for more information about the possibility of Taliban insurgents setting up an office in Doha, Qatar.
Qatar, the US and Germany had reportedly agreed to let the Taliban open its political office in Doha. According to the Doha-based private TV channel Al Jazeera , the Qatar government was willing to host the Taliban's office.
Germany, the US and Qatar had secretly discussed the issue at the 2nd Bonn Conference on December 5.
The participants at the meeting at the Presidential Palace said violence against the Afghan people must stop before talks with the Taliban can begin.
They also called for achievements over the past decade to be preserved and respect to Afghanistan's constitution paid. The meeting also called on the Taliban to renounce insurgency and violence before start of the negotiations.
The statement said no country has the right to interfere into the peace process without Afghan government's consent.
Vice President Marshal Mohammad Qasim Fahim, Sabighatullah Mujadidi, Pir Syed Ahmad Gillani, Haji Mohammad Mohaqiq, Sallahudin Rabani and other senior officials attended the meeting.
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