Afghanistan: No decision yet on Moscow peace talks

KABUL (TCA) — Despite Pakistan having said on October 27 it will take part in the Moscow talks on peace in Afghanistan, the Afghan government has said no firm date has been fixed yet, Afghan broadcaster TOLOnews reported.

The Afghan government is yet to take a decision on whether to participate in the planned Moscow talks on peace in the country, the Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on October 28.

Ministry spokesman Sibghat Ahmadi said discussions about holding the talks were ongoing but reiterated government’s longstanding position that no breakthrough will emerge out of any talks unless the talks are Afghan-owned and Afghan-led.

According to Ahmadi, Kabul and Moscow are still debating the issue of holding talks and until now, no decision has been made.

“Discussions are still going on about the prospects of a Moscow meeting, we are still holding discussions about it with the Russian side about how to convene the meeting,” said Ahmadi.

According to sources, the key challenges around such talks are questions on the role and status the Taliban will play at such a meeting, the participation of countries, the role of Pakistan and on whether Afghanistan will take the lead in such talks.

“The main objective of the meeting is that Pakistan wants to handover the peace process to the Russians while the process was started by the US,” said a member of the Afghan High Peace Council (HPC) Malalai Shinwari.

Meanwhile, lawmakers in Afghanistan’s Wolesi Jirga (Lower House of Parliament) have said the rivalry between Russia and the US is the key problem and is holding back the talks.

One Afghan senator, Mohammad Alam Ezedyar, said: “The role of regional countries is quite important to resolve the conflict in Afghanistan, because the prolongation of war in the military presence of the US in Afghanistan has caused serious concerns in the region.”

“This meeting in the real sense looks like a major regional maneuver against the US; the Russians and its allies in fact want to convince the Americans that they have influence over the situation in Afghanistan,” said MP Ghulam Farooq Majroh.

This comes after Pakistan announced on Saturday it would take part in the Moscow talks.

Pakistan’s Daily Times reported that according to officials, Islamabad will attend the planned meeting on peace in Afghanistan.

Originally the meeting was scheduled for September 4 in Moscow, but Afghanistan refused to attend citing that any such discussions should be Afghan-led.

When the US turned down the invitation to attend, Kabul followed suit. This came after the Taliban announced it would send a delegation to Moscow from Qatar.

However, Russia’s Interfax news agency recently reported that the meeting would now take place on November 1 and that Kabul and the Taliban would both attend.

But Russia’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova last week said that details including the date and attendees were still being worked on.


Times of Central Asia