DOHA: A three-day meeting between the representatives of the Afghan government, the Taliban, the US, and several foreign countries kicked off in Doha, Qatar, amid intensified clashes between the Afghan forces and the Taliban across Afghanistan.
Participants will discuss the Afghan peace process.
The Afghan delegation includes Abdullah Abdullah, Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation (HCNR), Syed Sadat Mansoor Naderi, State Minister for Peace Affairs, and Chief Negotiator Masoom Stanekzai.
Special Representatives of the UN, Qatar, US, UK, EU, China, Uzbekistan, and Pakistan are participating in the meeting.
Meanwhile, US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad left Washington for Doha over the weekend, where he is expected to push the Taliban to stop their military offensive and engage in peace talks with the Afghan government.
“The increased tempo of Taliban military engagement, resulting in civilian casualties in armed conflict between the sides, and alleged human rights atrocities are of grave concern,” the State Department noted.
“A negotiated peace is the only path to ending the war, and the United States will continue to work with all parties and with regional and international stakeholders to advance a consensus on a political settlement.”
Feraidoon Khozon, a spokesman for the HCNR, stated: “Afghan delegation will convey its message of reduction in violence and accelerating peace negotiations in this meeting.”
Former President Hamid Karzai has also called on the Taliban to stop violence, warning the group could face a national uprising by the people.