Moscow’s intra-Afghan meeting ends without decision

Taliban and senior Afghan political leaders have wrapped up their two-day talks in Moscow on peace, but failed to reach agreement on any issue.

A joint statement issued on Thursday said the participants held detailed discussions on peace and other important issues.
“Both sides discussed ceasefire, release of prisoners, withdrawal of foreign troops, end to foreign interference, security of civilians, enforcement of Islamic system, national sovereignty, territorial integrity, women rights and other issues,” said the statement. The Pashto and Dari language statement was also sent to Daily Times.

The statement said discussions were held in a “friendly environment” and there was a strong will of cooperation.
Both sides made progress on important issues and both sides agreed to continue dialogue on issues which need more discussions.

Afghan leaders, including former President Hamid Karzai, called for a temporary ceasefire. However, the Taliban refused to accept the demand, sources privy to the discussions said. On their part Taliban insisted on withdrawal of foreign forces, they said.
It was second intra-Afghan meeting in Russia this year. The first meeting was held in Moscow in February that had called for complete withdrawal of foreign forces.

The May 28-29 intra-Afghan meeting was important because the Taliban’s influential leader Mullah Ghani Baradar led a 14-member delegation in the talks.
Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen confirmed to Daily Times that ceasefire came under discussion, but there was no agreement. He renewed his call on the US to announce a time-frame for the troops withdrawal as this will pave the way for talks on other issues including ceasefire.

Although Taliban and Afghan politicians did not reach any agreement, the meeting was important as such interaction could lead to better understanding between the two sides and they could reach agreement on the future set-up.
Taliban have so far refused to hold direct talks with the Kabul administration on the plea that they do not consider it as a party to the conflict and that all powers are with the US.

Taliban political representatives did not meet chief of the High Peace Council Karim Khalili and Afghan ambassador in Moscow Latif Bahand. Khalili was among the Afghan leaders who were in Moscow for the 100 anniversary of the diplomatic relations between Russia and Afghanistan.

Taliban sources said the US and Taliban will hold another round of peace talks after Eidul Fitr. Both sides have held six round of talks since October, but have not reached any deal yet.–DT

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