KABUL: The Meshrano Jirga or Senate on Tuesday supported the government’s proposal to shift the next phases of peace talks to Afghanistan, believe the move would reduce foreign influence on the peace process.
Earlier, National Security Advisor (NSA) Hamdullah Mohib and President Ashraf Ghani had asked for shifting next phases of peace talks to Afghanistan.
Intra-Afghan talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government started about three months ago in Doha, Qatar and the two sides were only able to agree on procedural rules during 80 days of discussions and they now are working on the agenda of negotiations.
A day earlier, both the teams announced that they would resume talks after a three-week break for consultations.
The Meshrano Jirga or upper house of parliament today discussed the peace process.
Gulali Akbari, a senator from Badakhshan province, pointing to the three-week break in talks, hoped that the negotiations would resume the talks on the agreed date of January 5, 2020.
She said it would be better if future phases of negotiations were held inside the country and the government would ensure security of Taliban negotiators wherever they choose a venue. The talks inside the country would not be under influence of any foreign pressure or interference, she said.
Anarkali Hunaryar, another Meshrano Jirga member, also supported the government’s suggestion and said, “We hope the next stages of talks would be shifted to the country, we want the international community to press the Taliban to agree on ceasefire.”
She also asked the administrative board of the house to call the government’s negotiating team to the house for providing information about developments in peace talks.
A number of other members demanded reconsideration of the composition of the government’s negotiating team.
Zalmai Zabulai, a senator from Zabul province, said, “This team needs to be changed because it has failed to convince the Taliban that their opposite party is the Afghan government, the Taliban still call the government as Kabul Administration.”
Mohammad Hashem Alokozai, another senator, held similar views and said that the government’s negotiating team had no achievements over the last three months.
He called the team a failure and said its members should be able to properly argue with the Taliban.
Meshrano Jirga chairman Fazal Hadi Muslimyar told senators to have patience and let the government’s team continue their part.
He said the government’s negotiating team had strongly represented the government and people of the country and they needed more chance to continue the talks.
Muslimyar supported the government’s suggestion for shifting next parts of talks to the country and said that Afghanistan was a common house for all its people and the Afghan public’s demand was talks inside the country.
The house agreed on the transfer of negotiations from Qatar to Afghanistan.