Govt Begins Forming National, Inclusive Negotiating Team

Govt Begins Forming National, Inclusive Negotiating Team

By Karim Amini

TOLO News (Afghanistan)

March 2, 2019

Government has called on politicians and people from different layers of the society to introduce their delegates for a national and inclusive negotiating team which will conduct peace talks on behalf of Afghans, President Ashraf Ghani’s spokesman Haroon Chakhansuri said Saturday. 

The formation of an inclusive national team for peace talks is a demand by the US chief negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad.

An 11-member team formed by government last year but it was criticized for not being inclusive.

Chakhansuri said the efforts for bringing changes to the negotiating team was already considered but right now efforts are underway to form a national and inclusive team which will represent all layers of the society.

“The Afghan politicians and different layers of the society have been consulted and they have been asked to give lists to government and based on the list, considering the current phase of the peace process, an effective team would be formed to lead negotiations,” Chakhansuri said.

Mohammad Mohaqiq, the second deputy chief executive who was a participant of Moscow talks between Afghan politicians and Taliban last month, said an agreement has been made between politicians and government based on which representatives of Ghani’s administration will be included in the Afghan politicians’ delegation.

Mohaqiq said President Ghani in a meeting with former President Hamid Karzai, who also participated in Moscow talks, has accepted that government representatives will be part of the negotiating team.

Sources said the next round of the talks will be held in Doha.

As talks continue in Doha, former Afghan envoy to Islamabad Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal and former deputy foreign minister Hekmat Khalil Karzai are in Doha and reports say that they meetings and consultations with Khalilzad on issues around the peace talks.

“A solution has been found and the solution is that government sends its team to that big national umbrella which has been established under the leadership of (Hamid) Karzai,” said Mohaqiq.

Sources told TOLOnews that based on the new agreement between Afghan politicians and government, less or more than 50 percent of the negotiating team will be representatives of the Afghan government and the remaining will be politicians and heads of political parties.

According to sources, government representatives will not have decision-making authority and they have to consult with government about making any decision regarding peace.

“The team will not be a government’s team, because government has its problems and the problem is that Taliban has announced that they will not talk with the Afghan government. Also, they (Taliban) have announced that they will talk with an inclusive delegation which represents all Afghanistan,” Mubarez Rashidi, member of Peace and Moderation election team.

The new developments on forming a national and inclusive team come amid US and Taliban talks in Doha.

It is expected that the two sides would issue a declaration about the agreement they might reach. However, it is not known when the talks will finish.

“Representatives of the UN, Norway and the US will ask the Taliban to say how the internal problems can be solved and how the Afghans will make peace among themselves. They will ask the Taliban to say which option will work: interim government, taking part in power, or holding elections. Taliban in such a time will remain confused,” said Sami Yusufzai, a Qatar-based journalist.

Govt Begins Forming National, Inclusive Negotiating Team