Broad Agreement Reached In Moscow Meeting On Afghanistan, Gov’t Denies U.S. Troop Withdrawal

KABUL, Afghanistan, Feb 8 (NNN-AGENCIES) – A two-day peace meeting in Moscow, called for full withdrawal of U.S.-led forces from Afghanistan, a plan the Taliban said would pave the way for ensuring lasting peace in the country.

A number of key Afghan political parties and politicians and a delegation from the Qatar-based Taliban political office, attended the two-day meeting, which ended late Wednesday, according to the report.

The meeting was held without the presence of Afghan government officials, as the negotiations were held by Russia-based Afghan associations.

The participants agreed on protection of social, economic, political and educational rights of women, and freedom of speech in line with Islamic principles and efforts to attract international assistance for the reconstruction of the country’s infrastructures.

In order to promote an intra-Afghan dialogue, to find a political solution to the ongoing conflict, the meeting outlined a nine-point declaration, according to which the two sides unanimously agreed to soon hold the next round of talks in Qatar, where Taliban’s political office is based.

Issues agreed on the meeting also included continuation of a regular intra-Afghan peace dialogue, supporting Qatar talks and considering the talks a positive step towards ending war, bringing systematic reforms in all national institutions, including security sector after signing the peace deal, necessity of the regional and major countries’ cooperation to determine a lasting and inclusive peace in Afghanistan, among others.

The Afghan government has not reacted to the outcome of the meeting so far, but earlier in the week, President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani said, the politicians attending the Moscow talks had no executive power and were not officially representing the country.

The Afghan government has frequently said that it supported any peace efforts anywhere in Afghanistan or abroad.

Both Afghan and the U.S. government have denied a specific timetable for foreign troops withdrawal from Afghanistan, following U.S.-Taliban talks in Qatar late last month, unless peace was restored in the country.

President Ghani also said that, during his telephone conversation with U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, he was assured that “military unity” would exist between the United States and Afghanistan, until a lasting peace is restored in Afghanistan.

“Taliban will start negotiation with the Afghan government in the next summit soon. It’s a great progress,” Abdul Satar Saadat, Afghan president’s former legal adviser and former Chairman of Afghan Independent Electoral Complaints Commission, tweeted earlier in the day.– NNN-AGENCIES


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