No one from Taliban's Doha office attended Pakistan parleys
KABUL (Pajhwok): As government and Taliban representatives concluded their first direct talks in Pakistan and agreed to meet again after Ramadan, a source in the militant movement on Wednesday said no one from the Qatar office attended the meeting.
Hosted by Pakistan and observed by officials from China and the United States, the meeting between the Kabul officials and Taliban representatives took place in Murree, a tourist resort north of the nation’s capital Islamabad.
The first confirmed direct contact singled the start of a formal peace process to end the 13-year-old war in Afghanistan and yielded optimism.
The Pakistani government in a statement said the two sides discussed ways and means to bring peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan.
The meeting participants agreed to meet again after the holy fasting month of Ramadan.
Names of those attending the meeting from Kabul are not officially declared, but some sources identify them as Hikmat Khalil Karzai, Haji Din Mohammad, Faizullah Zaki and a member of the High Peace Council.
But a source close to the Taliban told Pajhwok Afghan News that members of the Taliban’s Doha office did not attend the talks.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the source said members of the Taliban’s Quetta Council and those based in Pakistan’s Karachi city had started discussing a unified stance.
He said the Murree talks were attended by Taliban leaders over whom Pakistan wielded influence. He named them as Mullah Jalil, Mullah Rahmani, Mullah Abbas and Mullah Abdul Raziq.
The source said Pakistan had told the Afghan Taliban leaders to join the peace talks or leave the country.
Political expert Wahid Muzhda also said no one from the Doha office attended the talks in Pakistan.
He said Mullah Abbas was not Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, a member of the Doha office.
He said Mullah Abbas was a resident of Kandahar province and belonged to the Achakzai tribe and Stanikzai was a resident of central Logar province.
Besides Mullah Hassan Rahmani and Mullah Jalil, another person named Farhad also attended the Murree talks on Taliban’s behalf, Muzhda said, accusing Pakistan of fraud and unrealistic cooperation.
The Taliban in a statement neither confirmed nor rejected the talks. The statement said “the Islamic Emirates of Afghanistan (the group’s official name) brings changes to officials or their authorities with time to time for improvement and streamlining the affairs, a process that has been ongoing since the movement began and it’s a routine.”
On this basis, the statement said, the full responsibility of Taliban’s domestic and foreign political affairs had been given to the political office (in Doha).
It said the office had been authorized to hold talks or reject them whenever and wherever it wanted keeping in view Islamic principles and national interests.
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.