President Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, chairperson of the High Council for National Reconciliation, met with the Afghan government’s peace negotiating team members as they prepare to leave for Qatar.
The Presidential Palace said the meeting took place on Wednesday afternoon.
“I am pleased that the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan has reached this critical stage of peace as a result of its continuous efforts and you, as a united and cohesive team, on behalf of the people and government of Afghanistan, are beginning peace talks with the Taliban,” Ghani told the delegation.
He stressed that the team had the support of the Afghan government and the people saw strength in the team’s “diversity, unity and coordination.”
Representatives from the ulema (religious scholars), women and youth were present in the negotiating team and have political weight, Ghani said, making them inclusive.
“The main goal of our delegation is to end violence, because the people want lasting peace and the preservation of the values of the new society,” he added.
He reiterated that the Afghan government has fulfilled all their obligations in the peace process and that the release of Taliban prisoners was a clear proof of their commitment to peace.
Ghani said that Afghans hoped for an agreement on a reduction in violence and a permanent ceasefire in the peace talks to achieve a “lasting and dignified peace.”
He thanked Abdullah for “successfully leading” the Peace Consultative Loya Jirga and said it had clearly set out a roadmap for the delegation.
Meanwhile, Abdullah said that the delegation represents all people of Afghanistan, including the families of victims of violence.
He said that the negotiating team were the protectors of national sovereignty, national values and national interests, the republic, women’s rights, and freedom of expression, during the talks with the Taliban.
The delegations is scheduled to arrive in Qatar by Thursday at the latest according to the High Council for National Reconciliation.