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Jamiat warns against ‘forming another’ HPC

KABUL (TOLONews): A key member of Jamiat-e-Islami party and former minister of energy and water, Mohammad Ismail Khan, says the representatives of the party have asked the president not to dissolve the High Peace Council and to ensure a peace negotiations team is not a parallel body to the HPC.

According to the Presidential Palace, President Ashraf Ghani has started consultations with political parties and former jihadi leaders over the formation of a negotiations team on peace.

Khan said in their meeting with Ghani they called on the president not to create a commission which will be parallel to the High Peace Council in terms of its responsibilities.

“We clearly said that it will be good that the High Peace Council, which started its work years ago, should not be dissolved and that a bigger commission should not be formed on a provincial and Kabul level parallel to the High Peace Council. A peace delegation should be formed instead, to start talks and Mr. President accepted this,” he said.

The Presidential Palace said on Friday that Ghani met with a number of political figures and former jihadi leaders including Abdul Rab Rasul Sayyaf, former vice president Mohammad Yunus Qanuni as well as members of Jamiat-e-Islami’s leadership Salahuddin Rabbani and Atta Mohammad Noor to discuss the establishment of the board.

He also met with members of civil society over peace talks on Saturday as well as other key figures including Gulbuddin Hekmatyar from Hizb-e-Islami on Friday night.

The Presidential Palace said in a statement that at his meeting with civil society members, Ghani said the Afghan youth needs to play a significant role in the peace process as any achievements, or otherwise, will affect them in the long term, the presidential palace said in a statement.

“The Hizb-e-Islami leader (Gulbuddin Hekmatyar) welcomed this suggestion and added that the delegation should be given full authority to move forward the process and he insisted that a clear stance should be taken regarding peace and the two sides should show readiness for talks,” said Fazl Ghani Haqman, an official from media office of Hizb-e-Islami.

Meanwhile, the president’s spokesman Haroon Chakhansuri said peace is a national process and that it needs a national delegation.

“The advisory board should give their advice to government of Afghanistan and the High Peace Council on important issues around peace,” Chakhansuri said.

Ismail Khan said the peace process is at a sensitive buy promising phase and that Jamiat can help these talks.

“Work on the peace process will start and a delegation of peace will be constituted… Some nights ago, we held talks with Mr. Dostum and Mohaqiq who insisted that they should be part of the peace commission,” Ismail Khan said.

This comes after the US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad this week started his second round of talks over the Afghan peace process.

Reports indicate that Khalilzad has returned to Kabul on Saturday after finishing his meeting with Afghan officials, and United Arab Emirates and Saudi officials in Abu Dhabi. He also held two-day talks with Taliban representatives in Doha.

The US envoy met Taliban representatives this week in Doha where they discussed ending the Afghan war.

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