Russia to host Meeting on Afghanistan’s Peace Process

KABUL/ ISLAMABAD: Afghan officials confirmed that Russia is planning to host a meeting on the Afghan peace process within the next 9 days and that it will invite key political leaders for the event.

According to the reports, Politicians from Afghanistan, including President Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, the chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation, 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.

Fraidoon Khwazoon, a spokesman for Abdullah said: “A conference will be held. Some figures have been invited. The reconciliation council chairman has also been invited,” Khwazoon said.

“The High Council for National Reconciliation is consulting on the meeting and will decide whether to participate in the conference or not,” he said, adding that “Russia has an important role in the Afghan peace process.”

The meeting aims to accelerate Afghanistan’s peace talks in Doha to put an end to the Afghan conflict.

According to the reports, Envoys from China, the US and Pakistan will attend the meeting. The Presidential Palace yet commented on the meeting.

This comes as the US proposed a United Nations-led conference in Turkey on Afghanistan’s peace.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a letter to President Ashraf Ghani seen by The Pakistan Daily put forth suggestions to the Afghan government to accelerate the peace process, including convening an 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.

Blinken however, made clear that the United States is considering all options regarding Afghanistan, including the May 1st deadline for full withdrawal.

“I must also make clear to you Mr President, that as our policy process continues in Washington, The United States has not ruled out any option. We are considering the full withdrawal of our forces by May 1st, as we consider other options,” US Secretary of State writes.

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