HPC looking forward to HIA delegation’s return
KABUL (Pajhwok): The High Peace Council (HPC) deputy head on Monday said they had established contacts with some Taliban leaders for peace talks and hoped the Hezb-i-Islami Afghanistan (HIA) delegation would return to Kabul soon.
Mualvi Attaur Rahman Salim told the lower house of parliament or Wolesi Jirga that the Taliban had been divided into seven or eight groups and each group had its own programme.
He said the HPC new leadership had established contacts with Taliban and currently discussions with some Taliban officials were in place.
Salim appeared before the lower house along with Nasir Ahmad Andisha, deputy foreign minister for finance and administrative affairs, to brief lawmakers about peace talks with the Taliban and the Gulbadin Hekmatyar-led HIA group.
Andisha said Afghanistan joined the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) for direct talks with the Taliban, but could not reach the goal. “In the QCG meetings, only the sincerity of Afghanistan and Pakistan was exposed to the world.”
He said talks would continue with insurgents who were willing to shun violence.
The HPC and the HIA recently signed a 25-article draft peace agreement after months of talks in Kabul. The HIA delegation shared a copy of the draft agreement with Hekmatyar and then returned to Kabul with some observations of Hekmatyar regarding the deal.
It was believed Hekmatyar and President Ashraf Ghani would soon sign the agreement, but it did not happen.
In this regard, Maulvi Salim said they reached the draft peace agreement with the HIA delegation after talks lasting two months and 10 days. He said the president and the international community had endorsed the agreement.
He said the HIA delegation took a copy of the agreement to Hekmatyar and the delegation returned to Kabul after two weeks and Hekmatyar had added another four articles to the agreement.
When the HIA delegation returned to Kabul, it did not share the four articles with the HPC and directly shared them with the president, Maulvi Salim said.
“The HIA delegation has told us they will return to Kabul again. But 20 days had passed and we are yet to receive any message from them. We are looking forward to their return.”
When asked where from the HIA delegation arrived in Kabul, he said some of the delegation members arrived from France and Germany and three through the Torkham border crossing with Pakistan.
To another question that there were some individuals in the government and the HPC who were against a peace deal with the HIA, he said there was no one who could derail the peace process with the HIA.
To yet another question, Salim said the HPC provincial bodies had suspended their activities due to a lack of budget.
He said during the past five years, the HPC had consumed nearly $8 million and during this period, more than 13,000 insurgents had reconciled and turned in their weapons.
Salim acknowledged the peace body could not fully come up with people’s expectations.
He revealed that a meeting of religious scholars from Islamic countries was expected to take place in Saudi Arabia over the next two months.
Without going into details, he said religious scholars from Muslim countries would attend the gathering in Jeddah and would issue a joint fitwa regarding the war in Afghanistan.
The lower house had summoned HPC head Pir Syed Ahmad Gilani, National Security Advisor Mohammad Hanif Atmar and Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani to appear before the house and brief lawmakers about the peace process. However, Atmar and Rabbani were abroad and Gilani did not appear before the house.
Speaker Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi said government officials were answerable to the parliament and they should appear before both houses of the parliament after being summoned.
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