Afghan Taliban, govt holding talks in Istanbul

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Observer Report

Kabul

A meeting of various Afghan Taliban factions and the Afghan government is under way in Istanbul, the Pajhwok news agency of Afghanistan has reported.
The report stated that the “quadrilateral intra-Afghan peace dialogue” began in Istanbul on Saturday “to find a negotiated end to the decades-long conflict in Afghanistan”.
Quoting a reliable source, the report stated that the dialogue was arranged in cooperation with the Turkish government.
Taliban’s Qatar Office members, Mullah Mohammad Rassoul splinter faction members, Afghan government officials and Hizb-e-Islami Afghanistan members are attending the meeting.
Rahmatullah Wardak is representing the Taliban, Mullah Rauf and Abdul Halim are representing the Rassoul group, Haji Dawajan Ahmadzai and Homayoon Jarir the HIA and Dr Basir, an envoy of Afghan High Peace Council chief Karim Khalili, is participating on behalf of the government, reports a private news channel.
The meeting follows as reports that the Turkish government has proposed the Taliban to open a political office in the country.
A spokesman for the HIA, Mohammad Nadar Afghan, confirmed the gathering to Pajhwok.
The report quotes a source close to Taliban admitting the talks but said “no one from their supreme leader Mullah Haibatullah group is participating in the gathering”.
According to the Taliban source, this was the third meeting of its kind taking place between the Afghan government and Taliban representatives in Turkey.
Meanwhile, Sources from government said the United Nations Security Council delegation is in Kabul to assess Afghanistan’s security and political situation.
Head of the UN Security Council and the United States representative to Afghanistan is also among the delegation who will meet with National Unity Government leaders.
“We have repeatedly complained to United Nations Security Council, but so far we have not received any response,” Asif Seddiqi, the deputy speaker of Meshrano Jirga, Upper House of Parliament, told media.
Kazakhstan Ambassador Kairat Umarov told reporters last Thursday that a trip would give members an opportunity to get an understanding of the country’s needs and prospects.
“The UN Security Council has an obligation to assess such effective cases and they have come here to investigate in this regard and find a solution,” Mohammad Saleh Saleh, an MP said.
Government sources said regional problems, especially counter-terrorism efforts are the main topics that the delegation and the Afghan government officials will discuss on. “We will be able to witness a lasting peace in the future if the United Nations will build regional cooperation on Afghanistan,” MP Fakoori Beheshti said.

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