Afghan leaders, Taliban attend peace talks in Moscow

US diplomat Alice Wells meets Additional Secretary FO Aftab Khokhar on November 6. — Foreign Office  File

Moscow on Friday hosted global talks on Afghanistan aimed at kickstarting direct negotiations between Kabul and the Taliban militant group, both of whom sent delegations.

As well as the five-member Taliban delegation, Russian Federation brought to the meeting several senior Afghan political figures, including some who have clashed with Ghani in the past.

The Moscow meeting will examine ways to "initiate direct talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban", a spokesman for the High Peace Council, Sayed Ehsan Tahiri, said by phone.

"This conference was not about direct talks", Taliban spokesman Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai told journalists in translated comments quoted by Interfax news agency. The presence of both sides "will be an important contribution to providing favorable conditions for the start of direct talks between the government and the Taliban movement", he said.

Yesterday, Pakistan and Afghanistan held second meeting of the Refugee Working Group under the Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Stability at the Ministry of States and Frontier Regions in Islamabad.

The Taliban said the talks will be aimed "on finding a peaceful solution to the Afghan quandary and ending American occupation".

The Moscow meeting on Friday will be the first time since 2001 that Indian representatives, in this case former Indian ambassador to Afghanistan Amar Sinha and head of the government-funded Indian Council of World Affairs think tank T. C. A. Raghavan, will be sitting at the same table as the Taliban. Technically it does not want to absent itself from a meeting hosted by Russian Federation, a country seen as a strategic partner, and be left out of a dialogue on the future of Afghanistan, which it considers part of its extended neighbourhood.

"I am counting on you holding a serious and constructive conversation that will justify the hopes of the Afghan people", he said before the rest of the meeting was held behind closed doors at a Moscow hotel.

A five-member delegation from the Qatar-based "political office" of the Taliban will take part in Friday's meeting.

Fly Jamaica flight crash lands at Guyana airport
Six people were injured when a Fly Jamaica plane overshot the runway after returning to Georgetown, Guyana , Friday morning. An airline spokesman said the plane reported a hydraulic failure emergency shortly after taking off.

Ronaldo scores but Man United stun Juve with two late goals
I respect Juventus , I respect their players, their manager - I respect everything. "We were there from the first minute until the last".

Fantastic freshmen help No. 4 Duke blow out No. 2 Kentucky
Michigan State: The Spartans' late surge showed they are capable of going toe to toe against the nation's top teams. Well, Self saw it, and perhaps now, the KU coach believes it. "We'll take more positives from this than negatives".

According to Reuters, former Afghan president Hamid Karzai and CEO of Jamiat-e-Islami party of Afghanistan, Attar Mohammad Noor, have accepted the invitation.

The Taliban sent five representatives to Moscow but insisted they would not hold any negotiations with the delegation from Kabul.

"Both the sides declared their support to Afghan government's efforts towards the realization of an Afghan-led, and Afghan-owned national peace reconciliation process", the joint statement at the time had said.

"The fact that the Afghan government did not send an official representative sends a message that they are not fully committed to these talks", Yuri Barmin, a fellow with the Russian International Affairs Council, told Al Jazeera on Friday. The U.S. Embassy in Moscow has sent a diplomat to observe the discussions. U.S. troops have been fighting in Afghanistan since the 2001 invasion that was launched to dismantle al-Qaida and topple the Taliban.

The meeting was supposed to take place on September 4, however, it was postponed at the last moment after the Afghan Government pulled out citing that the Taliban had "disrespected internationally-sanctioned principles and rejected the message of peace and direct negotiations".

The meeting came at a sensitive time.

The Taliban's attendance will bolster the group's worldwide status, while the meeting gives Moscow the chance to influence peace efforts until now dominated by Washington.

"The United States believes that all countries should support direct dialogue between the government of Afghanistan and the Taliban to reach an end to the war and we have been clear that no government, including Russian Federation, can be a substitute for the Afghan government in direct negotiations with the Taliban".

Related News:



Most liked

Adriana is retiring from Victoria’s Secret
Nicholas' mother was in the audience on Thursday as she walked the runway for the prestigious fashion brand. She also shared a photo of her and "inspiration" Adriana Lima , who did her last catwalk for VS this year.

North Korea talks could affect U.S. military posture in Korea: Dunford
In a statement released at midnight, the department said the two sides "will reconvene when our respective schedules permit". Asked if he still plans to have the second summit, the United States president said, "Sometime next year, I would say.

College Football Power Rankings Week 11
All three of the Bulldogs' losses occurred to teams in the current top 15, including two on the road. It seems impossible for the Knights to make a reasonable run towards the top four in the rankings.

Lakers coach Walton on addition of Chandler: We needed the help now
That leaves L.A.'s starting point guard a question mark to play in Saturday night's game at Sacramento. That's been the story for us thus far, we have been right there, we've been out rebounded.

Meg Ryan announces engagement to John Mellencamp
Just a few months later, in July 2017, a source told ET that the couple had reunited. Throwback: Ryan's union to Mellencamp will mark her second marriage.

Trump threatens to revoke more White House press passes after Acosta
You have to treat the White House with respect. " Abby Phillip did not ask a "stupid" question today at the White House. Jimmy Kimmel is weighing in on the ongoing feud between the White House and CNN reporter Jim Acosta.

Trump Denies Knowing Attorney General He Met Over a Dozen Times
Trump told reporters he has not discussed the post with Christie, who he said was "a friend of mine" and "a good man". In any of those instances, a House investigation against the president could ensue with or without Mueller's report.

Thousand Oaks Shooter Posted to Instagram During Incident
The Gun Violence Archive says more than 12,400 lives in America have been lost in 2018 as the result of gun violence. Sheriff Dean also revealed Long was known to the department following a number of "minor events" in recent years.

Google bows to worker pressure on sexual misconduct policy
Organizers say they intend to meet with Google execs in pursuit of getting all - not just some - of their demands met. As protesters demanded, the company is also consolidating reporting channels for those with misconduct complaints.

Indonesia's Lion Air plane crashes into pole in new accident
The passengers on the JT-633 flight to Jakarta were moved to a second plane and arrived four hours late at 11.50pm. If the angle of attack is too high, then its speed decreases and the aircraft could enter an aerodynamic stall.

Camp Fire burns through Northern California
Cars and trucks, some with trailers attached, were left on the roadside as evacuees ran for their lives, said Bass. Within roughly six hours, the fire had grown to more than 26 square miles (69 square kilometers), said Gaddie.

Ingress Prime now available to welcome new Agents to the fight
Save for some small quality-of-life improvements at least, such as quick-swipe menus, inventory management and Facebook linking. Ingress has always had the image of being a geeky game very few could comprehend, with a mobile app that speaks to that nature.

Justice Ginsburg is hospitalized with broken ribs after fall
Ginsburg was admitted to George Washington University Hospital on Thursday morning, according to a Supreme Court press release . Ginsburg broke two ribs in 2012 after suffering a fall, an incident she did not disclose to the public until months later.

Android Apps Will Soon Update While You Use Them
Dark mode draws 43% lesser power at full brightness compared to "normal mode" in the YouTube app, according to Business Insider. Keep in mind that the original Pixel features an OLED display, while the iPhone 7 features an LCD panel.

Tesla names Robyn Denholm as its new chairwoman, replacing Elon Musk
The mid-priced Tesla Model 3 was the fifth bestselling passenger auto in America, according to the industry analyst Edmunds. The task is not entirely new for Denholm; she's served on the Tesla Board as an independent director since 2014.