58 killed in fresh clashes between Taliban, Afghan forces

07 February, 2019, 04:34 | Author: Donnie King
  • India to US Not in Favour of 'Interim' Government in Afghanistan

The Afghan Government has described the meeting as "not in the interest of Afghanistan and the efforts for peace process", and it accused Moscow of failing to fulfill its past pledge to facilitate direct talks between its officials and Taliban members.

In 2018, Tashkent hosted a high-level global conference on Afghanistan titled "Peace Process, Cooperation in the Sphere of Security and Regional Interaction" where the participants called for an urgent start of direct talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban movement.

United States peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad has been conducting intense diplomatic negotiations with the Afghan Taliban's leadership in Doha, Qatar.

Instead, the Taliban, who ruled Afghanistan under a ruthless interpretation of Sharia law between 1996 and 2001, sat down for talks with Ghani's rivals including Mohammad Haneef Atmar as the country prepares to hold presidential elections in July.

Ghani's allies in Washington insist Afghans should lead the peace process, and the months-long push by the USA to engage the Taliban has ostensibly been aimed at convincing them to negotiate with the government in Kabul.

"At the first step, we want all the foreign forces to leave and end the military presence in our country", Sohail Shahin, a spokesman for a Taliban office in Qatar, said by telephone.

The Russian Embassy in Kabul issued a statement late on Saturday on behalf of the "Afghan Society of Russia".

Mr Stanikzai addressed the meeting in a hotel in Moscow, saying the group did not want "a monopoly of power" - but that Afghanistan's constitution had been "imported from the West" and was an "obstacle to peace".

Head of the High Peace Council of Afghanistan, Omar Daudzai, warned that a hasty United States military contingent's pullout would inevitably bring further bloodshed. Two and a half million Afghans were martyred for the cause of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and it is a (matter of) principle for all of us.

Girls were banned from schools and colleges and women prohibited from the workplace save in a few areas such as medicine.

"Rest assured that no one can push us aside", he said.

President Trump's recent push to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan, long a key requirement by the Taliban before joining peace talks, may have accelerated the process.

The meeting in Russian Federation is "nothing more than a fantasy".

The Moscow meet comes a week after the Taliban held separate talks toward ending 17 years of fighting with American negotiators in Doha, where Ghani was again not invited to the table.

Participants gather before a conference of Afghan opposition and Taliban representatives, in Moscow, Russia, Feb. 5, 2019.

He stressed upon converging on points of consensus, and open a new chapter of peace and prosperity.

However, no Afghan government officials were present at the meeting, and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani strongly criticized the talks as undermining his government.

Two days of unprecedented talks in Moscow with high-ranking Afghan politicians end with disagreements over women's rights and demands for a new constitution.

"It is responsibility of all the Afghans to end foreign invasion", Stanekzai said, adding, "War has been imposed on the Afghan nation and the Islamic Emirate as their country has been invaded and the invaders have toppled an Islamic sovereign system. It is a good start", said Muhammad Ghulam Jalal, the head of an Afghan diaspora group who hosted the meeting.

He called for the release of Taliban detainees and claimed that U.S. and its protectorate regime have detained tens of thousands of Afghans and Taliban in their secret and open prisons.

"This meeting was very successful", the black-turbaned Taliban official told reporters.



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