Peace negotiations with HIA making progress: HPC
KABUL (Pajhwok): The High Peace Council (HPC) says negotiations with the Hezb-I-Islamic Afghanistan (HIA) on the peace process have yielded positive results and differences over some issues will be resolved in the near future.
A few weeks ago, the HIA sent its first delegation, led by Eng. Mohammad Amin Karim, to Kabul for peace talks with HPC officials. The delegates, however, failed to iron out differences with the government.
In an attempt to break the impasse, the group sent a second team on Saturday to the capital for resolving the rifts. The second delegation is expected to finalise a peace roadmap with the government.
The council’s deputy head, Maulvi Attaur Rahman Salim, during an exclusive interview with Pajhwok Afghan News, said the council was independent in talking to the Gulbadin Hekmatyar-led party, which was seeking suggestions from the government. He hoped the talks would succeed.
“The peace negotiations with HIA are aimed to ensure trust as we have also reached agreements on major issues. We believe some hurdles are still there. But the differences will be removed in the near future,” he remarked.
Recognition of the constitution and other laws of the country had been the government’s main demand that HIA had already accepted, he said, adding most of the 25 points, as outlined in the agreement, had been agreed between the two sides.
“The agreement has been in the works for the past one and a half month; we hope it will protect our national interests, meet constitutional requirements and yield positive results. There are differences over five or six points, but we hope they will also be resolved,” he believed.
Although he did not go into the details of the contentious points, transparent elections, release of HIA prisoners and arrangements for the dignified return of Afghan refugees are said to be among the divisive issues.
About the release of HIA detainees, Salim said: “Differences do exist on the issue but we are ready to form a commission to identify them.” He added the HPC supported the government’s stance on fighting against violent groups. He opined counterterrorism operations would not damage the peace process.
“The government has raised its voice for peace, but the militants think they can achieve their goals by fighting and conducting suicide bombs. The government is responsible for preventing them…” Salim added.
The militants should join the peace process and accept an intra-Afghan understanding instead of rubbing salts into Afghans’ wounds.
About the quadrilateral meetings, Salim said the Afghan government hoped the process would help pave the ground for direct talks, but Pakistan had failed to keep its promise of bringing the Taliban to the negotiating table.
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.