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Karzai sees Moscow Summit as a first step towards peace

KABUL (TOLONews): Former president Hamid Karzai says Moscow meeting – which was held on November 9 – was the first and correct step taken for bringing about peace and stability in Afghanistan and in the region.

Talking to Kazakhstan State TV, Karzai said he is optimistic about Russia’s efforts on the Afghan peace process.

Karzai said that although there was no representative from the Afghan government in direct talks between the US officials and Taliban in Qatar, but he hopes such meetings will pave the ground for ending the war in the country.

“In the peace talks in Moscow, which was the first time such a talk was taking place in a major regional capital of the world with the neighbors of Afghanistan all present there including from Kazakhstan and where delegations of the Taliban and delegations of the Afghan Peace Council sat together, the Afghan ambassador was there in that meeting, so, we see it as a positive step, a first step, that will definitely give us results and we hope it will continue to keep convening and keep looking for a solution eventually that suits all of us,” said Karzai.

Karzai’s remarks come amid the US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad has started his second round of talks over the Afghan peace process.

It is expected that Khalilzad will return to Kabul on Saturday after finishing his second round of meeting with Afghan officials, United Arab Emirates and Saudi officials in Abu Dhabi, and a 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.

“We had a detailed discussion with Khalilzad on many issues, especially peace, and we shared our opinion with him and heard his views as well and we decided to work together,” said Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, leader of Hizb-e-Islami.

“After his achievements in the first visit, Khalilzad has started his second visit to Afghanistan and the region. You know that Afghanistan crisis is very deep and you should not expect this crisis get resolved in one or two meetings,” said Hassan Haqyar, a former Taliban official.

In his first visit to the region, Khalilzad asked the Afghan government and the Taliban to form their negotiation teams to discuss peace.

Meanwhile, according to Presidential Palace, the Afghan president’s efforts are underway for formation of an advisory board for peace negotiations.

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

“Government somehow is trying to keep political parties’ role in the peace process in a way that it wants and we are not satisfied with that,” said Bashir Ahmad Tahyanj, spokesman for the National Islamic Movement of Afghanistan.

Earlier this week, the High Peace Council delegation who had attended Moscow meeting, said that Washington has given Khalilzad six months to broker the Afghan peace process.

The HPC official said peace efforts by the US envoy are bringing hope for a results-oriented process.

“He has been given six months to show results to his administration and based on that we are hungry for peace and support any effort to achieve peace,” said Azizullah Din Mohammad, who headed the HPC delegation at the Moscow meeting.

“The issues which Taliban shared for starting talks did not include big issues as in the past. The issue was that we should agree to the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan,” said Attaullah Salim, deputy head of HPC.

Moscow summit on Afghanistan’s peace was held on November 9, where representatives of the Taliban and envoys from 11 countries including the United States had participated.

A delegation from Afghanistan’s High Peace Council (HPC) also attended the meeting.

Taliban representatives who attended the meeting said the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan is the only way for maintaining security.

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