Afghan government official response over peace talks in Turkey
KABUL - Presidential Palace, ARG, on Monday said the individuals who attended an unofficial peace talks meeting with the Taliban delegation in Turkey did not represent the Afghan government, TOLO News has reported.
“The individuals who have held talks with some members of the Taliban in Turkey do not represent the Afghan government,” President Ghani’s spokesman Shahussain Murtazawi said. “The Afghan government will inform the people of Afghanistan about any talks which will be held with the armed opponents.”
The statement comes a day after Mawlawi Abdul Rauf, a purported Taliban leader who led the peace talks delegation in Turkey, claimed that they represent all Taliban factions in the negotiations with the Afghan government officials.
Information obtained by TOLOnews indicate that the envoys who talked with the Taliban delegation in Turkey were not representing the government of Afghanistan.
Who Were Taliban Members Who Attended The Talks?
Mawlawi Abdul Rauf was governor of Paktia during the Taliban regime in Afghanistan – 1996 to 2001. He did not have any sort of contacts with the group over the recent years, information obtained by TOLOnews show.
The second person in the Taliban delegation is Mullah Abdul Halim who runs a madrassa, religious school, in the border town of Chaman in Pakistan’s Baluchistan province. He is a native resident of Kandahar province in the south of Afghanistan.
The third person in the Taliban delegation is Rahmatullah who reportedly owns a shop in Quetta City of Pakistan and has not link with the Taliban.
There is no sufficient information about the identity of the fourth individual named Mawlawi Sultan.
The fifth individual is Mullah Dawa Jan Ahmadzai who owns a tourism company in Pakistan’s Peshawar City. It is said that he is either has no link with the Taliban.
The Taliban delegation claimed that they represent the Islamic Emirate of the Taliban and all those Taliban factions which strongly support an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led dialogue.
“High level Taliban members hopefully will take part in the official round of meeting (in the future),” said Mawlawi Abdul Rauf told TOLOnews.
The Status Of The Talks
Humayun Jarir, who claimed he attended the talks from government side, told TOLOnews that the negotiations were unofficial and that they will discuss mechanisms to pave the ground for official talks between the two sides.
Humayun Jarir and Abbas Basir, who attended the peace talks, are advisors to President Ashraf Ghani. They said they represented the High Peace Council and the government in the talks.
Analysts meanwhile said they welcome any talks which will help ensure peace in Afghanistan.
“It was better that the international community and the people of Afghanistan both engage in talks with mainstream Taliban by recognizing the Qatar office,” said political analyst Nazar Mohammad Mutmaen.
It is not the first time that the peace talks between the two sides spark controversy. Previously, certain people who disguised as Taliban peace makers managed to attain special privilege from the Afghan government under the name of representing the group in the peace discussions.
Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, has rejected the meeting, claiming that the delegation does not represent the group.