NIFA backs inclusive intra-Afghan dialogue
KABUL (PAN): The National Islamic Front of Afghanistan (NIFA) on Saturday called for an intra-Afghan dialogue involving all groups to achieve national reconciliation and end the 11-year war in the country.
In a statement, the party said it believed evolving a national consensus could lead the country to durable peace and stability.
The statement comes amid reports that opposition parties have launched talks with militant groups to put an end to the war and position themselves for next year’s elections.
Pir Ahmed Gilani, a founding member of the party, said: "We want a solution for Afghanistan ... but every step should be a soft one … We have to start somewhere."
But the Hezb-i-Islami Afghanistan breakaway faction, a member of the united opposition, was quick to reject the reports, saying the party had not yet taken any decision on entering talks with the Taliban.
NIFA said Gilani's interview with the Associated Press had been cut short, creating a misunderstanding. The party said Gailani had spoke on behalf of his group, not the allies, referring to a meeting between Taliban representatives, some opposition groups and others in France three months back.
"We appreciate such gatherings and consider them essential for peace," the front said. "We respect the vision of all opposition parties. We believe in an inclusive intra-Afghan dialogue and a mechanism for putting an end to the ongoing conflict," NIFA said.
Reports say both Taliban and opposition leaders have confirmed for the first time that President Hamid Karzai’s political foes have been talking since the beginning of the current year to the militants.
They are trying to find a political solution to the war ahead of two key events in 2014 -- the presidential race that will determine Karzai’s successor and the withdrawal of international combat troops from the country.
As Karzai cannot run for a third term, there are fears the troop withdrawal plus a new leader in the Presidential Palace could trigger a new round of instability.
The Taliban, who ruled out negotiations with the Karzai government, are reportedly willing to pursue talks with opposition parties.
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