Afghan peace negotiating teams meet in Doha

Kabul, Dec 6 : After months of bickering over rules and procedures for the Afghan peace dialogue, negotiating teams of the Kabul government and the Taliban met in the Qatar capital of Doha, the State Ministry for Peace Affairs said in a statement released here on Sunday.

“The first meeting of the joint committee of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the opposition side was held in Doha (on Saturday) to arrange the issues for the agenda of the talks,” sXinhua news agency quoted the statement as saying.

The working groups exchanged views on issues around the formal peace parlay’s agenda and the meeting is expected to continue on Sunday, according to the statement.

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The peace negotiations between the two sides were formally launched in Doha on September 12.

However, talks had been delayed because of disagreements over procedural rules.

Sunday’s statement came a day after President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani inaugurated the first meeting of the country’s High Council for National Reconciliation (HCNR) after its establishment a few months ago.

At the meeting, Ghani renewed his call for the Taliban to observe a nationwide ceasefire, which the militant group has so far denied.

Also addressing the meeting, Chairman of the HCNR, Abdullah Abdullah said that Afghan people were in dire need of political unity more than ever and need an urgent inclusive ceasefire.

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The meeting came as Taliban militants, who had ruled the country before being ousted in late 2001, intensified armed insurgency killing government troops as well as civilians.

More than 35,000 Afghan civilians have died and about 65,000 have been injured as a result of armed conflict in Afghanistan since January 2009, according to figures of the UN mission in the country.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-generated from IANS service.

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