India Attends Doha Intra-Afghan Talk, Says Process Be ‘Afghan-Led’

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi attended the opening ceremony.

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India Attends Doha Intra-Afghan Talk; Says Process Be 'Afghan-Led'
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India attended the start of the Intra-Afghan talks in Doha on Saturday, 12 September. A senior official attended the meet in person whereas as External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar attended virtually.

"Addressed the conference on Afghan peace negotiations at Doha today. Conveyed that the peace process must: • Be Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled • Respect national sovereignty and territorial integrity of Afghanistan • Promote human rights and democracy. • Ensure interest of minorities, women and the vulnerable • Effectively address violence across the country. The friendship of our peoples is a testimony to our history with Afghanistan. No part of Afghanistan is untouched by our 400-plus development projects. Confident that this civilizational relationship will continue to grow", tweeted Jaishankar after addressing the conference.

Talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban began in Doha on Saturday, 12 September, and have raised hopes among the people of the war-torn country for peace after years of conflict.

The much-awaited intra-Afghan dialogue opened at a ceremony to be attended by senior officials from different countries including US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and senior officials from the host country Qatar, reports Xinhua news agency.

The 21-member negotiated team, headed by former Afghan intelligence chief Mohammed Masoom Stanekzai, left for Doha from Kabul on 11 September.

“I am very happy to see government peace delegation going to Doha for talks with Taliban to end the war in the country,” a 41-year-old Kabul resident Karimullah Khan told Xinhua news agency.

Khan lamented that the prolonged war and militancy have destroyed his life and claimed the lives of his family members and relatives.

‘Process Complicated But Hopeful’

Fawzia Koofi, a member of the Afghan negotiating team, said she thinks the process will be complicated but added that she remains hopeful.

“As far as the Afghan war is multidimensional, all dimensions of this war should be considered in the talks,” TOLO News quoted Koofi as saying.

Before heading to Doha, chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation Abdullah Abdullah, said: "This is a historic day. I am hopeful that the talks could lead to ending the war and restoring lasting peace in Afghanistan."

‘Ceasefire Will Be First Topic in Talks’

Acting Foreign Minister Mohammad Haneef Atmar said a ceasefire will be the first topic in the talks.

“We hope that consensus is also built among the Taliban regarding peace,” he added.

The intra-Afghan talks were part of the historic agreement signed between the US and the Taliban on 29 February.

The talks were to be held 10 days after the deal was signed but it kept getting delayed over the prisoner release issue between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

The government claimed that it has freed all the 5,000 Taliban inmates, while the militant group has also completed the release of 1,000 government prisoners.

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