Pakistan backs Afghan dialogue in Qatar
Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry told a press conference in Islamabad that Pakistan would be ready for every support needed and said “Pakistan wants peace in Afghanistan and supports reconciliation process between Taliban and Afghan government.”
He further said that peace in Afghanistan was imperative for peace in the region and that Pakistan desired better ties with Afghanistan.
Qatar on Saturday confirmed it was hosting two days of “reconciliation talks” between the Afghan government and Taliban insurgents.
“The dialogue will be through open discussions about the Afghan reconciliation between all parties in Afghanistan,” the gulf country’s official news agency, QNA, said citing the foreign ministry official Yousif al-Sada.
The Taliban identified eight people who would take part in the talks. However, they said the discussions “should not be misconstrued as peace or negotiation talks”.
Insiders privy to the discussions in Qatar, requesting anonymity, told Pajhwok Afghan News besides Afghan officials and Taliban representatives, the participants included United Nations, Qatari, Turkish officials.
Another source said the Taliban were asked to present their opinions in written form and not given a chance to speak.
The dialogue has been organised in Doha by the Pugwash Council, which brings together scholars and public figures to work against armed conflicts and seek solutions to global security threats.
Former president Hamid Karzai, Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah and a number of political parties’ leaders and lawmakers had been invited to the conference.
Qazi Hakim would represent the Gulbadin Hekmatyar-led Hezb-i-Islami of Afghanistan (HIA), the second largest militant group after the Taliban. The HIA has also a political wing led by former economy minister Abdul Hadi Arghandiwal.
Others invitees include Qutbuddin Hilal, Syed Ishaq Gilani, Haji Roohullah, Farooq Azam, Yunas Qanuni, Faizullah Zaki, Karim Khalili, Qazi Amin Waqad, Masoom Stanikzai and several others.
Mohammad Hassan Haqyar, a political analyst, said the Doha conference was a positive step towards reviving the peace process in Afghanistan despite the event being unofficial.
Haqyar told Pajhwok Afghan News “the dialogue gives an opportunity for both the government and the Taliban to speak out their positions on the need and demand for peace and stability in Afghanistan”.
The conference, he said, had US and other Western countries’ support since the US had provided financial support to the Pugwash Council which had organised such conferences in France and Turkey in the past.
Haqyar said the most important point was that that the Taliban had openly announced, for the first time, their participation in the dialogue process and had named the participants on their behalf.
Dr. Faiz Ahmed Zaland, another political expert, said the Qatar conference was in the interest of both the government and the Taliban, but added the government’s weak stance had strengthened Taliban’s position.
He said the US and its allies had realised that the Taliban could not be defeated militarily so they started efforts for peace talks.
He said Al Qaeda had been replaced by Daesh in the region, making the Taliban to agree for peace negotiations, Zaland said.
He said the presence of Daesh or Islamic State group could prove dangerous for both Afghan forces and Taliban militants.
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