Afghanistan: Kabul optimistic about Murree talks with Taliban

By Muhammad Hassan Khetab On Jul 08, 2015 – 14:18

KABUL (Pajhwok): The first formal peace negotiations took place last night between official delegations of the High Peace Council (HPC) of Afghanistan and the Afghan Taliban movement in Murree, a tourists’ resort close to Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan.

A statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) on Wednesday said the two sides would hold their second meeting as part of the process after the holy month of Ramadan.

“Whilst the government of Afghanistan welcomes the official beginning of negotiations for the first time, affirms their decisions and considers it the first step toward reaching peace, it hopes the negotiations begin a process to avert further bloodshed of innocent Afghans and destruction of the country, and pave the way for reaching durable peace,” the statement said.

It said that will and intention of the sides being deemed an essential principle to the success of the peace negotiations, the Afghan people were hopeful that the negotiations would continue with good intentions and determination. “We are hopeful that the negotiations result in ensuring dignified peace and permanent stability in the country and region.”

The unity government commended the leadership of Pakistan for facilitating the first meeting and hosting the delegation of the High Peace Council. It hoped that cooperation would produce practical and tangible results so that both countries enjoyed security and stability and were delivered from war.

Afghanistan also thanked the US and China for their cooperation in this process and deems their joint efforts alongside those of other regional states necessary to ensuring security and stability in Afghanistan and region, especially in repelling new regional security threats.

President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani had undertaken comprehensive efforts to garner support of all groups for the intra-Afghan peace process, it said, adding that as a result, a broad consensus has emerged among religious scholars, political and jihadi figures and select leaders on saving the country from the war imposed on it.

The government, it said, was proud of the National Defense and Security Forces that have repelled all threats and challenge with their increasing strength to pave the way for reaching durable peace in the country.

“Our National Defense and Security Forces are endowed with the capabilities and determination to defend Afghanistan against the threat of international terrorism. They remain fully prepared, as always, to defend the peace and security of our people.

“The leadership of the government of Afghanistan is committed to continuing the peace process with the active participation of the people of Afghanistan and hopes that all stakeholders pursue this critical national matter with full understanding of the current problems as well as dedication and compassion in a way that the independence, national unity and territorial integrity of our country remain untarnished, and our nation reach prosperity and serenity,” the statement concluded.


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