US, Taliban discuss peace process, release of remaining prisoners
US State Department in its official statement has welcomed the formation and the first Leadership Committee meeting of the Afghanistan High Council for National Reconciliation on Saturday.
The US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad met Taliban’s deputy leader Mullah Baradar and chief negotiator Abdul Hakim wherein they discussed the US-Taliban peace process and release of the remaining prisoners, said Mohammad Naeem, a spokesman for the Taliban delegation.
His statement came after the first meeting of the Leadership Committee of the Afghanistan High Council for National Reconciliation was held in Qatar on Saturday.
Soon after the meeting, Khalilzad said in a tweet, “During the negotiations on the terms of a peace agreement, separation of powers, and a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire with the Taliban, this committee will be a competent body for the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.”
“Afghans are coming together and taking steps to make progress toward peace, the steps taken in recent days are positive and hopeful. I urge both sides to accelerate their peace efforts to end the country’s long war,” he said in another tweet.
Meanwhile, the US State Department in its official statement has welcomed the formation and the first Leadership Committee meeting of the Afghanistan High Council for National Reconciliation on Saturday.
“This inclusive body is chaired by Dr Abdullah Abdullah while afghan leaders across the political spectrum have unified to make decisions and mobilize support for a just and lasting peace. All sides of the conflict should come together and chart a path to peace,” said the statement.
It further said, “As an authoritative body on peace, the High Council and its Leadership Committee will provide counsel and guidance to the Islamic Republic negotiating team with the Taliban on the terms of an agreement on a political roadmap, power-sharing, and a permanent ceasefire to end the country’s long war.”
According to a report by TOLO News, the Afghan political leaders attended the first meeting of the High Council for National Reconciliation but some political figures, including Hizb-e-Islami leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, Salahuddin Rabbani--the head of Jamiat-e-Islami party and Marshal Abdul Rashid Dostum, did not participate in the event.
“The meeting could have been more complete. There are other personalities in our country who have contributed to peace. They have their own analytical analysis of peace and have public standing. They have the ability to represent, so we hope that they are also invited,” Tolo News quoted former President Hamid Karzai as saying at the reconciliation council’s meeting.