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Intra-Afghan talks in Qatar: ‘All things discussed’

Intra-Afghan talks in Qatar: ‘All things discussed’

Jul 07, 2019 - 19:56

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): Participants of an all-Afghan meeting explained their positions on the day first of their two-day conference in the Qatari capital, Doha, on Sunday, with some attendees urging ceasefire and de-escalation of violence in Afghanistaninfo-icon.

A 17-member Talibaninfo-icon delegation and Afghan civil society, human rights activists, women representatives and prominent political figures from Afghanistan and Europe are participating in the meeting brokered by Qatar and Germany. A total of 60 people attended the meeting’s opening today in Doha.

The Taliban in a statement said their delegation was led by Mullahinfo-icon Abbas Stanikzai, former head of Taliban’s Qatar Office. Taliban’s previous delegations to Moscow and China were headed by Mullah Baradar.

Zalmay Khalilzad, the US special representative for the Afghan peace process, told reporters on the sidelines of today’s meeting that the Afghans should get benefit from such meetings for peace so the ongoing war in Afghanistan was brought to an end.

He said the worldinfo-icon and the US were hopeful that meetings where only Afghans discussed their problems would yield progress.

The meeting began with recitation of verses of the holy Quraninfo-icon and the participants prayed for the unity of Muslims around the world.

Speeches and issues raised at the meeting were kept secret, but a participant told Pajhwok Afghan News that German and Qatari officials gave opening speeches which were followed by a long message from Mullah Abbas Stanikzai.

Stanikzai’s speech mostly focused on womeninfo-icon’s rights in the future and economic issues.

The source said some participants suggested the creation of two committees for working on decisions and other issues.

Another participant, Jamaluddin Badr, said that Taliban talked about women’s rights, Islamic system, Afghanistan’s independence and other issues.

Another participant told Pajhwok that the meeting discussed ceasefire, consequences of war, reducing violence, women rights and organization of negotiating teams.

He said all the sides wanted the mentioned issues to be resolved but the problem was that the Taliban interpreted some things differently from others.

“We say the system is Islamic republic, we are now discussing it to convince each other. There are also international definitions for independence, but we discuss what the Taliban think and what others think about it,” he said.

Haji Din Mohammad, another participant of the meeting and High Peace Councilinfo-icon (HPC) deputy head, said that people were tired of war and attacks from both the Taliban and the government. He said the meeting discussed reduction in violence or even ending it.

Dr. Ghairat Baheer, a representative of Hezb-i-Islamiinfo-icon Afghanistan and participant of the meeting, said they decided not to reveal the meeting speeches and he could not provide information about what discussed.

However, he said the meeting was a great opportunity for Afghans as both men and women were participating in it with a mentality of acceptance.

Asila Wardak, a female participant of the meeting, said talks after welcoming speeches by Qatari and German officials continued behind closed doors.

She said Stanikzai talked first and presented Taliban’s policy regarding women’s rights and economic issues.

“We also provided our suggestions, discussed ceasefire, if ceasefire is not agreed, there should be a committee for reducing violence and civilian casualties,” she said.

She said they wanted explanation from the Taliban about what type of rights would they give to the Afghan women if they came into power.

Faizia Kufi, another participant, hoped they would reach some agreements in the meeting.

She said freedom of speech, women rights and persistence of the government were issues that would be discussed.



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