A new 15-member Afghan government-led team, consisting of politicians, civil rights activists and representatives of ethnic groups, will soon "meet face to face" with the Taliban, seeking to achieve lasting peace in the war-torn country, a senior Afghanistan diplomat said in New Delhi on Monday.
Afghanistan's Charge d'Affaires in India, Tahir Qadiry, said at an interaction at the Foreign Correspondent Club of South Asia, that the team will also have "women members".
"A 15-member Afghan team will soon meet face to face with Taliban to take the Afghan peace process forward, seeking to achieve lasting peace in the war-torn country," he said in response to a question on Afghan peace talks.
The date and exact place, as to where the talks will take place, is yet to be decided, he said.
"This will be an Afghan government-led team but it will be an inclusive team, with representation from across the country, so, it will include members from civil rights groups and ethnic groups, among others, besides, members from the government," Qadiry said.
His remarks come at a time, when talks between the US and the Taliban stretched into a third day on Monday, with no immediate indication that a historic deal between the longtime foes had been reached.
The two sides are meeting in Doha for an eighth round of talks to thrash out a deal that would slash the presence of American troops in Afghanistan.
"We are waiting and watching the US-Taliban talks, to see if this deal goes through," Qadiry said.
Former Afghanistan president Hamid Karzai, at the fourth edition of the Raisina Dialogue in Delhi in January, had said, "Taliban belongs to our country" and hence their involvement is crucial for the success of the peace talks, either initiated by the US or the Russians.
"Taliban is inevitable for bringing peace to the country," he had said.
Qadiry, a journalist-turned-diplomat, on the role of Taliban in taking the peace process forward, said, "The Taliban are important for the peace process. But, from our side, the stand is that they need to integrate into the Afghanistan that we are rebuilding".
On a question on the Indian government revoking Article 370 which accorded special status to Jammu and Kashmir and proposing that the state be bifurcated into two union territories, Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh, the Afghanistan diplomat, said, "We are waiting and watching, how the situation unfolds".
Earlier he delivered a talk on 'A New Afghanistan' and said the new generation of Afghans, those belonging his generation, were, "well-educated, well-connected and know they have a say in the policy-making".
"They also know this Afghanistan that they seek to rebuild, taking it out of this tumultuous past, that had hit the country very hard," he said.
He also said there will be grand celebrations to mark 100 years of Afghanistan's Independence this year. The country got its independence on August 19, 1919.
"Celebrations will be held in Kabul and restored Darul Aman Palace will be inaugurated, among other programmes," Qadiry said.
The senior diplomat also said the country has planned to hold its elections on September 28.
Tuesday 6 August 2019 03:42