Dozens of high-profile Afghan politicians and civil society activists, including women met with the Taliban in the Qatari capital for an intra-Afghan meeting that sought to find lasting peace in war-torn Afghanistan.
“… Committed to respect and protect the dignity of people, their life and property and to minimise the civilian casualties to zero,” a joint statement released at the end of the talks in Doha said late on Monday.
The two-day meeting, sponsored by Qatar and Germany, began early on Sunday and is being attended by a delegation of about 50 high-profile Afghan citizens. “The meeting is aimed at further pushing the intra-Afghan negotiations for peace,” former Afghan envoy to Pakistan, Omar Zakhilwal, who is attending the meeting, told media. Zakhilwal said the gathering “complements” the ongoing United States-Taliban talks, also being held in Doha.
As the meeting was underway, Taliban fighters on Sunday killed at least eight people and wounded more than 50 civilians in a car bomb attack in Afghanistan’s Ghazni province. The Taliban, which has repeatedly refused to negotiate with the West-backed government of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, agreed to join the meeting on the condition that the attendees will do so in a personal capacity.
Earlier, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expressed content over the intra-Afghan peace dialogue. “… It’s great to see senior government, civil society, women, and Taliban representatives at one table together”, he tweeted.
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