Taliban asked to declare negotiating team’s members for peace talks

Afghanistan government officials say the government is committed to maintaining fair and lasting peace in the country; therefore, the government has declared its negotiating team for talks with the Taliban group.
“Afghanistan government by declaring members of its negotiating team has shown that it is honest and committed to maintaining peace in the country and has strong determination for peace talks,” said Shah HussainMurtazavi, spokesperson to presidential office.
He said that Taliban should also declared members of its negotiating team for talks if they believed in peace talks.
The Taliban group has not commented regarding declaration of a negotiating team for peace talks with the government, but the group had previously declared that they would not talk to Afghanistan government in presence of foreign forces in the country.
Taliban thinks that the group can get further concessions from the US on negotiating table. Recent US media reports in connection with war in Afghanistan and recent remarks of US commanders regarding the Taliban group might have caused that in this phase they could get further concessions in peace talks with the US.
Nevertheless, the US secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, in his most recent remarks, has said the United States is focused on finding an end to the war in Afghanistan, but that doesn’t involve withdrawing US military forces form Afghanistan soon.
“We are going to stand with the 41 nations, largest wartime coalition in history, who are still committed to this effort,” Mattis said at the Reagan National Defense Forum on Saturday.
“The Taliban have made clear the lives of the Afghan people are of no value to them. They can’t win at the ballot box, so they are trying to terrorize instead,” he added.
In regards to the importance of the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan, Secretary Mattis has said “If we leave, with 20-odd of the most dangerous terrorist groups in the world centered in that region, we know what will happen. Our intelligence is very specific. We will be under attack.”
He also praised Trump’s decision to increase U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan last year, and said that “for the first time in 17 years, the U.N. believes we have hope for peace.”
Previously, US President Donald Trump had said that his country was seriously working in connection with peace talks in Afghanistan. US Secretary of State’s special envoy to Afghanistan on peace and reconciliation ZalmayKhalilzad had previously said that he hoped Afghans would reach peace agreements prior to upcoming presidential elections to be held on April 20, 2019. Afghan political experts say the people of Afghanistan are hopeful for peace in their country, but they are concerned over peace efforts as the process is underway in national and international level. It is worth mentioning that President Mohammad Ashraf Ghanipresented a new road map for peace talks to Geneva summit held on Nov 27-28. In the respective road map, Afghanistan government has stressed that the peace process would have five phases starting with an intra-Afghan dialogue, followed by discussions with Pakistan and the United States, then regional actors, China and India and the Arab Islamic world including Indonesia, and finally NATO and non-NATO countries. Lailuma Noori

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