Govt Will Attend Turkey, Russia Meetings on Afghan Peace: Mohib

Govt Will Attend Turkey, Russia Meetings on Afghan Peace: Mohib

National Security Adviser Hamdullah Mohib on Saturday the Afghan government will participate in the UN-led conference in Turkey – proposed by the US – and the Moscow conference on Afghanistan’s peace.

Mohib said that the Afghan government is working on a delegation for the two events.

The Turkey conference was proposed by the US in a letter by Secretary of State Antony Blinken to President Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, the chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation, this month.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Friday said the UN-led meeting on Afghan peace “is planned to be held in Istanbul in April.”

“We were one of the few countries invited to this signing ceremony, and we are one of the most important actors in Afghanistan,” the Turkish minister said as quoted in a report by Anadolu Agency.

Politicians from Afghanistan, including President Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah as well as foreign envoys and the Taliban representatives, are expected to attend the meeting in Moscow on March 18 to discuss the Afghan peace process, the reconciliation council’s spokesman Fraidoon Khwazoon said last week.

“When it comes to participation, we will participate in the meetings,” Mohib told a press briefing in which he was joined by the country’s security chief, but he added that an interim government – that has been proposed as a solution to move the peace process forward – “will take the country to nowhere.”

Interior Ministry Maj. Gen. Massoud Andarabi said the Afghan forces have made “special preparations” over the last three months to face the Taliban on the battlefields in a possible new fighting season. The fighting season is expected to start in days if peace efforts fail to reduce violence in the country.

Andarabi added that they remain hopeful for peace in the country but if the peace efforts fail, the government forces are ready to defend the country. 

In his letter, Blinken puts forth suggestions to the Afghan government to accelerate the peace process, including convening a UN-facilitated conference with international stakeholders, proposals to facilitate discussion between the two sides to form a negotiated settlement and ceasefire, a meeting in Turkey between both sides to finalize a peace agreement, and a revised proposal for a 90-day reduction in violence.  

However, along with these proposals, Blinken made clear that the United States is considering all options regarding Afghanistan, including the May 1st deadline for full withdrawal.

Many Afghan political leaders have welcomed both conferences on Afghan peace with the hope that it will expedite the stalled peace process.

Former president Hamid Karzai in an interview with the Associated Press said that the US draft for a deal between the Afghan government and the Taliban is the best chance to accelerate stalled peace talks between the country’s warring sides.

Karzai said that Afghans themselves “are in a hurry for peace.”

Meanwhile, Russia has said that it is in favor of Afghanistan forming an interim government including members of the Taliban as new meetings are expected to be held on the Afghan peace process in Turkey and in Moscow.

“The formation of an interim inclusive administration would be a logical solution to the problem of integrating the Taliban into the peaceful political life of Afghanistan,” Russia’s WioNews reported on Friday quoting Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.

Zakharova however added that the decision should be made “by the Afghans themselves and should be resolved during negotiations on national reconciliation.”