Afghan-to-Afghan peace talks were scheduled for Friday but postponed after President Ashraf Ghani opposed a list of participants announced by Qatari organization, CGTN reported.
Sultan Barakat, director of Qatar’s Center for Conflict and Humanitarian Studies, the organisation sponsoring the negotiations, confirmed the postponement on Twitter. He commented on the news, saying “this is unfortunately necessary to further build consensus as to who should participate in the conference”.
The first round of the peace talks was agreed by both sides, the Afghan government and Taliban representatives. The experts said the start of the Afghan peace process would be a significant first step towards finding a negotiated end to the war in Afghanistan. In the light of the eventual withdrawal of US troops, the peace talks become crucial for Afghanistan.
On Friday, Mr Ghani opposed a list of participants announced by Barakat’s organization. A list of 243 people was announced by Qatar day before. According to the Afghan president, Qatari’s version of his list differed – 243 people instead of proposed 250 people, 54 of whom are women. In its turn, the Taliban spokesman on Wednesday has questioned the size of the government delegation.
In fact, international observers find such a big delegation’s size questionable: list of 250 participants could be a reflection of its “inability to gather the various political parties together and form a team that can speak with one voice,” said Bill Roggio, editor of the Long War Journal. He added that the Afghan political parties and other groups are much distrusted, particularly after some cells met the Taliban in Russia without Cabinet’s permission.