Taliban positive on women’s rights, girls’ edu
KABUL (Pajhwok): The two-day talks between Afghan government officials and Taliban representatives in Qatar concluded on Sunday without reaching any agreement but both the parties expressed their views on peace and stability in Afghanistan.
The dialogue was organised in Doha by Canadian-based organisation Pugwash Council on Saturday and Sunday. An eight-member Taliban delegation took part in the talks and discussed issues relating to peace and stability in Afghanistan with a 20-member Afghan government delegation.
A number of political parties’ leaders, lawmakers and civi society activists attended the conference.
Qazi Hakim represented the Gulbadin Hekmatyar-led Hezb-i-Islami of Afghanistan (HIA), the second largest militant group after the Taliban in Afghanistan.
A source privy to the discussions, requesting anonymity, told Pajhwok Afghan News on Monday that the government delegation had individual meetings with the Taliban delegation on the sidelines of the conference.
The source said the Afghan delegation discussed women’s rights and girls’ education with the Taliban and got positive response from them. “The conference organizers were very strict, they did not allow taking pictures and using cell phones during the dialogue and we left our cell phones in hotel rooms when we went to the conference”, he added.
One of the Taliban representatives confirmed individual discussions with Afghan officials to a foreign news agency.
He said Afghan government officials “demanded we stop our fighting and announce a ceasefire. They called us brothers and advised us to come to Afghanistan and obey the Afghan constitution.”
The source said Taliban did not agree on ceasefire until all foreign forces left Afghanistan. The sources also confirmed that both parties of the conference agreed to have another meeting in the United Arab Emirates next month.
Another participant, requesting anonymity, told Pajhwok Afghan News the participants shared their point of views in the conference. The Taliban also openly discussed their views and opinions, he added.
The source said Taliban’s arguments were stronger than Afghan officials’. “The Taliban criticised the government for corruption, poor governance and lack of interest in peace talks.”
After the talks, the Taliban issued a policy statement, expressing their willingness to soften stance on a range of issues and said they did not want to harm others.
Pakistan on Sunday extended complete support and cooperation to peace and reconciliation process between Afghan government and Taliban 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.
Political analysts also called the conference as beneficial for peace and stability in the region.
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