Afghan govt, Taliban agree to accelerate peace talks after Moscow summit

Published March 19, 2021
Members of the Taliban delegation: former western Herat Governor Khairullah Khairkhwa, member of the negotiation team Suhail Shaheen and spokesman for the Taliban's political office Mohammad Naeem attend a joint news conference in Moscow, Russia, March 19. — Reuters
Members of the Taliban delegation: former western Herat Governor Khairullah Khairkhwa, member of the negotiation team Suhail Shaheen and spokesman for the Taliban's political office Mohammad Naeem attend a joint news conference in Moscow, Russia, March 19. — Reuters

The Afghan government and the Taliban agreed on Friday to try to accelerate peace talks, at a meeting in Moscow that followed an international conference there on the peace process, a senior Afghan official was quoted as saying.

The United States, Russia, China and Pakistan called on Afghanistan's warring sides to reach an immediate ceasefire at the conference, held in Russia just six weeks before a deadline agreed last year to withdraw US troops.

“We expressed our readiness to accelerate the [peace] process,” Abdullah Abdullah, chairman of Afghanistan's High Council for National Reconciliation, told Russia's RIA news agency. “They (the Taliban) did as well.”

Abdullah said the sides had not discussed any specific issues when they met in Moscow on Friday.

Moscow hosted the international conference on Afghanistan on Thursday, at which Russia, the US, China and Pakistan released a joint statement calling on the Afghan sides to reach a peace deal and curb violence, and on the Taliban not to launch any offensives in the spring and summer.

The conference aimed to reinvigorate negotiations that have been taking place between the Afghan government and the Taliban in Qatar's capital Doha, largely stalled over government accusations that the insurgents have failed to halt violence.

The Moscow conference was the first time the US had sent a senior representative to talks on Afghanistan under a format launched by Russia in 2017.

Washington agreed last year with the Taliban to withdraw its troops by May 1 after nearly two decades, and is looking for support among regional powers for its plans for the peace process.

Opinion

Editorial

Noon leaks
Updated 27 Sep, 2022

Noon leaks

PMO audio leaks are a national security emergency that ought to be investigated at the highest level.
Cipher probe offer
27 Sep, 2022

Cipher probe offer

CONSIDERING the toxic political polarisation in the country, former prime minister Imran Khan’s suggestion that ...
Delaying Doha plans
27 Sep, 2022

Delaying Doha plans

WHEN Doha announced its intention to spend $3bn in different commercial and investment sectors of Pakistan around a...
Debt deferment
Updated 26 Sep, 2022

Debt deferment

Pakistan’s dollar funding needs for next 5 years have never been so large and world’s appetite to hold its hands never so poor.
Dengue concerns
26 Sep, 2022

Dengue concerns

AS weather conditions change in Pakistan, the threat of dengue looms large over the land. According to a warning...
Relic of colonialism
26 Sep, 2022

Relic of colonialism

THE law on sedition, one of several holdovers of colonial times, is among the most handy instruments for controlling...