Members of the High Council for Peace, the body responsible for overseeing the peace process in Afghanistan, met in Taliban on Friday with whom they renewed the proposal of President Ashraf Ghani to open peace talks without condition .
MOSCOW (Reuters) – The Taliban participated for the first time in a diplomatic conference in Moscow on Friday, an event illustrating Russia’s willingness to influence the peace process in Afghanistan but viewed with suspicion by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, who did not send a delegation.
Members of the High Council for Peace, the body responsible for overseeing the peace process in Afghanistan, which does not officially represent the government of Kabul, however, attended this meeting and renewed with the Taliban the proposal of President Ghani open peace talks without preconditions.
Islamist insurgents refuse to speak directly with the Afghan government, which they consider an illegitimate regime because it is backed by foreign powers, starting with the United States.
In a statement, the Taliban, on the other hand, declared themselves ready for “face-to-face negotiations with the Americans”.
“The Islamic Emirate has opened wide the doors of dialogue and negotiations,” they added, listing a series of demands including the end of international sanctions against them, the release of detainees and the formal establishment of a political representation.
The idea of holding peace talks on Afghanistan in Moscow dates back to last August. Russia had invited twelve countries and the Taliban to participate.
The conference, scheduled for early September, has been postponed at the request of President Ghani, who intends to keep the initiative of any direct negotiation with the Islamists.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said it noted “the lack of an alternative to a political settlement in Afghanistan and the need for coordinated efforts from Afghanistan’s neighbors and regional partners”.
Several countries, including China, Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan had sent representatives to Moscow.