Peace talks with Taliban should be Afghan-led: Afghan president

Kabul, July 8 (IANS) Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has said peace talks with the Taliban should be and will be Afghan-led and Afghan-owned, the Presidential Palace here said on Wednesday.

“The preliminary peace talks will include three major parts, i.e. changing the initial peace talks process to a continued course, trust building, and preparing a list of the most important demands in the agenda for peace talks,” Ghani said during a meeting with political experts and elites on Tuesday.

The comments came as an Afghan government delegation, led by Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Khalil Karzai, held the first-ever face-to-face peace talks with representatives of the Taliban in Murree, a hill station near Pakistan’s capital Islamabad, late Tuesday, Xinhua news agency reported.

However, Zabihullah Mujahid, a purported Taliban spokesman, has expressed his ignorance of the talks, saying if he received information he would share it with the media.

The Afghan president also stated that Afghan women’s participation in peace talks would remain in course and women should have an important role in the peace process.

President Ghani and his predecessor Hamid Karzai have repeatedly offered peace talks with the Taliban. However, the insurgent group has categorically rejected the offer, saying there would be no talks until all foreign troops leave the country.

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