Kabul says ready to negotiate with all armed groups
The meeting, to be attended by Afghan, Pakistani, American and Chinese officials, is aimed at developing a new framework for talks between the Taliban and the government in Kabul.
At the first four-way meeting on January 11, the participants had reiterated their commitment to realising the objectives identified in talks on the sidelines of last month’s Heart of Asia Conference.
In a joint statement after the meeting, the four parties agreed to build on the outcome of the December 9 trilateral and quadrilateral meetings in Islamabad.
They promised joint efforts to facilitate “an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process” with a view to achieving lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan and the region.
Javed Faisal, deputy spokesman for the Chief Executive Office, said the second quadrilateral meeting, scheduled for Monday in Kabul, would discuss the roadmap for peace parleys with the Taliban.
He added Afghanistan did not expect Pakistan to would implement its peace pledges.But the presence of the US and China would make the meeting result-oriented, he hoped.
Faisal said the Afghan government was ready to negotiate with all armed opponents except the foreign insurgents and their Afghan allies. All available resource would be exhausted to achieve peace in the country, he promised.
Meanwhile, the High Peace Council (HPC) expressed optimism the meeting would be a success. There was need for a comprehensive strategy to combat violence and let peace prevail in the country, it said.
Mohammad Ismael Qasimyar, foreign affairs advisor to HPC, said the Islamabad session had been positive. Concrete discussion on the framework for peace talks would take place in tomorrow’s meeting, he added.
But Qasimyar, referring to Taliban’s growing fragmentation and factionalism, feared so many splinter groups could harm the peace negotiations. He urged talks with all armed groups.
Najib Paikan, a Kabul-based political analyst, said mere commitments would not bring peace to the county. He stressed the need for implementation of promises as peace was the most important demand of the people.
He asked the government to convince the international community that Afghanistan has been a victim of terrorism and its people richly deserved peace. The sooner, the better.
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