Increasing hopes on Afghan govt, Taliban direct peace talks

Afghanistan government officials have asked US special peace envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad to pave ground for holding direct peace talks between Afghanistan government and the Taliban group during the sixth round of peace talks determined to be held in near future in Qatar.
The US special peace envoy for Afghanistan arrived in Kabul on Sunday night as part of his multi-nation trip on Afghan peace, his fourth visit to Kabul since last September.
According to the US Department of State, Khalilzad will consult with the Afghan government and other Afghans about the status of US talks with the Taliban, encourage efforts to form an inclusive negotiating team, and discuss next steps in intra-Afghan discussions and negotiations.
Khalilzad said in a tweet that he met with President Ghani’s Chief of administration affairs Abdul Salam Rahimi and President Ghani’s special envoy and head of High Peace Council Umer Daudzai.
“We discussed the urgency of making progress on intra-Afghan dialogue,” Khalilzad said.
In this trip, Khalilzad is traveling to Afghanistan, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Jordan and Qatar from March 25 to April 10.
Regarding to visit of US special peace envoy for Afghanistan, deputy spokesperson to chief executive Omid Misam said: “We hope the government and people of Afghanistan will witness practical steps in connection with starting direct peace talks between Afghanistan government and the Taliban group.”
Based on reports, President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has started consultation with a number of political faces in particular former President Hamid Karzai to discuss Afghanistan peace process. In a tweet, the country’s President said that to reach a unified stance on the peace process, he would continue consultation with other politicians and representatives of all walks of life with earnest. The consultations are aimed at changing various peace efforts into a unitized stance on peace talks.
Afghan lawmakers are stressing that negotiations with the Taliban group in the absence of representatives of the government and people of Afghanistan are concerning.
They said that all issues regarding the intra-Afghani dialogue and peace talks should meet the demands of the Afghan people.
Previously, President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani had asked for transparency in peace talks and stressed on the position of Afghanistan government regarding peace talks with the Taliban group.
Afghan political experts believe that Taliban cannot reach their goals through continuation of war and violence in the country.
“If Taliban want to reach their goals, they should choose peace talks with Afghanistan government as the ongoing war in the country has no Islamic and religious legitimacy at all; therefore, Taliban should stop violence and join peace process,” an Afghan political expert Jamal Farahmand said.
In the meantime, High Peace Council is optimistic in connection with peace efforts but stresses on intra-Afghani dialogue and direct peace talks between Afghanistan government and the Taliban group.
Suraya Raiszada

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