Afghanistan politicians, Taliban say peace talks to continue

The two sides, in a joint statement, said that they agreed to hold another meeting "as soon as possible" in Qatar, agencies reported.

Afghanistan politicians, Taliban say peace talks to continue Image courtesy: Reuters

Moscow: An Afghan delegation led by former president Hamid Karzai and representatives of Taliban say that they would continue their peace talks following two days of negotiations in Russia. About 40 Afghan politicians, excluding government officials, met on February 5-6 in Moscow.

The two sides, in a joint statement, said that they agreed to hold another meeting "as soon as possible" in Qatar, reported Afghanistan`s Tolo News. The declaration stated that all parties in the conference have agreed that a dignified and lasting peace is the aspiration of all the people of Afghanistan and this principle has been achieved in Moscow.

The joint statement also reiterated that in view of the current sensitive situation, the intra-Afghan dialogue must continue on regular basis.The parties in the conference considered these talks a positive step towards ending the imposed war on Afghanistan.

"All parties have agreed that systematic reforms be put in place in all national institutions including the security sector after a peace deal is signed. All parties agreed that the cooperation of regional countries and major countries are essential to determine lasting and nationwide peace in Afghanistan," read the joint declaration.

The declaration further stated, "All parties agreed that the values such as respect for the principles of Islam in all parts of the system, the principle that Afghanistan is a common home to all Afghans, support to a powerful centralized government with all Afghan ethnicities having a role in it, protecting national sovereignty and promoting social justice, to keep Afghanistan neutral in all regional and international conflicts, protecting Afghanistan’s national and religious values and undertaking a unified and single policy.

"The declaration also asserted that all parties agreed that to determine lasting peace in Afghanistan, several steps are need to be taken, including complete withdrawal of foreign forces from the country, asking all countries to avoid interfering in Afghanistan’s internal affairs, providing assurance to the international community that Afghanistan will not be used against any other nation, protection of social, economic, political and educational rights of the Afghan women in line with Islamic principles.

"All parties agreed that in order to create the atmosphere of trust and promote peace, in the first step, it is important that these items are taken into consideration, tackling the issue of all those inmates who are old, or suffering incurable diseases or have completed their prison sentences and the removal of leaders of the Taliban from the UN blacklist, opening of an official political office in Qatar for acceleration of peace talks," the declaration further stated.

Several leaders from Afghanistan mainstream politics to Taliban including former Vice President Mohammad Yunus Qanuni, former Balkh governor and Jamiat-e-Islami member Atta Mohammad Noor, Jamiat-e-Islami member Mohammad Ismail Khan, second deputy chief executive and Wahday party member Mohammad Mohaqiq, head of National Islamic Front of Afghanistan Sayed Hamid Gailani, and son of former president Sebghatullah Mujaddedi, Zabihullah Mujaddedi, along with the representatives of Taliban attended the talk.

The Moscow talks came after officials from over 40 countries attended the International Contact Group meeting in London, this week, including US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad and President Ashraf Ghani’s Special Representative on Regional Affairs for Consensus on Peace Umer Daudzai, to announce their support to the Afghan peace process.