Two negotiators on the team representing the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Ghairat Bahir of Hizb-e-Islami and Fatima Gailani, an academic, did not travel to Doha for the opening ceremony on Saturday.
Baheer has been prevented by the Hizb-e-Islami head Gulbuddin Hekmatyar from joining the delegation, says party members, while Gailani has not traveled to Doha for health reasons.
The first meeting of direct negotiations between the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban team is expected to begin this week.
“Standards for the negotiating team were ignored by the Presidential Palace and the Sapidar Palace, therefore, we were sure that the negotiations will not be effected by not sending one or a few individuals,” said Hafizullah Naqi, a member of Hizb-e-Islami led by Hekmatyar.
Afghan negotiators said Ain-Un-Naeem, who was a member of the technical team of the delegation, will be appointed as a member to replace the Hizb-e-Islami member.
Four of the 21-members on the government's negotiating team are women. Fatima Gailani is a graduate of Farsi literature, mysticism and Islamic studies. She is in London now.
Fawzia Koofi is a graduate of law and political science, Habiba Sarabi is former minister of women’s affairs and is a medical doctor, and Sharifa Zurmati is a former MP and a student of Pashto literature.
“I could not attend the opening ceremony, which was a historic day. But I will soon join my colleagues and will attend the negotiations. The presence of women in the negotiations is highly important,” said Gailani.
Absence of women in the Taliban 21-member negotiating team has been criticized by many. But the group has defended its stance in this respect.
“About the absence or presence of women… the main goal is to establish an Islamic government in which the rights of all individuals are guaranteed and Islam has guaranteed them,” Taliban spokesman Mohammad Naeem said.