Abdullah, Karzai in meeting call for reduction in violence

KABUL (Tolo News): Abdullah Abdullah, the chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation, met with former president Hamid Karzai on Monday and discussed the second round of peace talks, Abdullah’s office said. Abdullah and Karzai during the meeting discussed the second round of the peace talks in Doha and the international consensus for Afghan peace, it said.

Both leaders called for an immediate reduction in violence, it added. Some members from each side in Doha, including the chief negotiators, held a meeting and discussed the agenda, said Republic negotiator Nader Nadery. The meeting comes after days of delay.

Over the nine days since the start of the second round of talks, the two sides have held four meetings, including, at the working group level, but they haven’t had progress in finalizing the agenda that will open the way for formal talks. Taliban spokesman Mohammad Naeem said that US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad met with Abdul Ghani Baradar, head of the political office, and Mawlawi Abdul Hakeem Haqqani, head of the negotiating team, and discussed the peace agreement and emphasized that issues should be solved via dialogue and that every side should fulfill its responsibilities in a fair way. This comes as violence has increased in the country in recent days, including targeted attacks in cities like Kabul.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for a complex attack on an NDS facility in the southern province of Kandahar. Local officials said four attackers were killed in the attack that started with a car bomb explosion. The officials said the attack took “no casualties” from Afghan forces.

Meanwhile, Afghanistan’s international partners in a meeting with Afghan officials held virtually today announced their support for the peace efforts, ceasefire and humanitarian values in the country, said the High Council for National Reconciliation.

Abdullah Abdullah, head of the High Council for National Reconciliation, the State Minister for Peace Affairs Sayed Sadat Mansoor Naderi, chief negotiator Masoom Stanekzai and Deputy Foreign Minister Mirwais Nab attended the meeting, according to the reconciliation council’s statement. The event was the second monthly meeting of the High Council for National Reconciliation’s Regional and International Affairs Commission with members of Kabul’s diplomatic corps.

“We exchanged views on the peace process, the second round of the talks in Doha, regional and international support for peace. We fully briefed our international partners on the latest developments in the peace process inside the country, and in Doha,” Abdullah said.

The diplomatic corps and international partners shared their views and unanimously supported the peace efforts lead by the High Council for National Reconciliation, called for immediate ceasefire and the acceleration of the talks, condemned the targeted killings, and insisted on a unified message in support of Afghanistan the peace process, Abdullah said. “Our negotiating team is in Qatar. They’re back there on time. They had plenty of meetings with different stakeholders,” Abdullah said. “The guiding principles were approved which were approved by the leadership committee of the High Council for National Reconciliation.”

“Achieving an inclusive peaceful settlement is our goal and preserving the achievements of the past 20 years–which are the sacrifices of our people–these are the guiding principles for our negotiating team,” he said.

According to the reconciliation council’s statement, the common points in the meeting were support for the peace efforts, a call for immediate ceasefire, expedition of peace efforts in Doha, an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace, and condemnation of targeting killings. Stanekzai said that discussions are underway on the agenda of the talks and that serious discussions on the agreed points will start by end of this week.