Qatari Special Envoy Meets Khalilzad, Chief Taliban Negotiator

Kabul: The Qatari special envoy on counterterrorism and conflict resolution, Mutlaq bin Majed Al Qahtani on Wednesday met with US Special Representative for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad, as well as the head of the Taliban delegation at the inter-Afghan negotiations in Doha, Abdul Hakim Sheikh, Qatar’s foreign ministry said.

Earlier in the day, Taliban spokesperson Suhail Shaheen announced that the movement’s negotiating teams and the Afghan government had met on Tuesday to discuss accelerating the negotiations.

“Qahtani on Wednesday met Khalilzad and his accompanying delegation, during his current visit to the country,” the ministry said in a statement, adding that the sides discussed the ongoing peace process and the Doha talks.

Qahtani also reviewed the state of the Afghan peace process during his meeting with the Taliban official. The peace negotiations between Kabul and the Taliban began in the Qatari capital in September last year. In early December, Kabul and the Taliban announced that they had agreed on the framework of the talks, allowing for discussions to now be held on substantive issues. Little progress, however, has been made since then.

On the other hand, the Muslim World League (MWL) is brokering an agreement between Afghan and Pakistani leaders and a diverse group of scholars to promote stability and security in Afghanistan based on the Islamic principles of peace and reconciliation.

A signing ceremony will be held on Thursday, June 10, in the Holy City of Makkah, near the Sacred Mosque and the Kaaba, the holiest site in Islam. His Excellency Sheikh Dr. Mohammad bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa, Secretary General of the MWL; is leading the initiative, which includes His Excellency Noor-ul-Haq Qadri, Federal Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony of Pakistan; His Excellency Mohammad Qasim Halimi, Minister of Hajj and Religious Affairs of Afghanistan; and His Excellency Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi, Special Representative to the Prime Minister of Pakistan on Religious Harmony. Prominent scholars will also be participating virtually from Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The Declaration of Peace in Afghanistan agreement is supported by the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. “This agreement represents a new chapter in the growing relationship between Afghanistan and Pakistan,” Dr. Al-Issa said. “Muslim leaders and scholars have an important role to play in promoting the true, moderate principles of Islam, and leveraging them to secure a sustainable peace in Afghanistan. This means prioritizing all pathways to reconciliation, building bridges of constructive dialogue and cooperation, and alleviating the suffering of innocent men, women and children. This agreement does just that by establishing a foundation to help accelerate peace efforts in Afghanistan.”

The agreement supports peace and reconciliation efforts in Afghanistan by uniting government and civil society leaders on key issues of national cohesiveness. Elements of the agreement include a call for an immediate and comprehensive cessation of hostilities, broadened support for development efforts, counterterrorism and counterextremism commitments, closer relations between the two neighboring countries, and assistance for the many Afghan refugees residing in Pakistan and other countries. The agreement also seeks to reiterate and strengthen the bonds of Islamic unity and togetherness, regardless of sect.

The agreement is taking place under the auspices of the MWL as a sign of the trust and productive cooperation between Afghanistan and Pakistan, and their shared view of the MWL as a uniting force for good in the Islamic world. Earlier this year, Dr. Al-Issa met with Afghan Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Haneef Atmar, where the two discussed the importance of the role of Muslim scholars helping to end the violence in Afghanistan.
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Latest from Newsfeed; Thursday, June 10 2021