President Ashraf Ghani in a cabinet meeting today echoed NSA Hamdullah Mohib to say that the second round of the peace negotiation talks should be held in Afghanistan.
“While the Taliban is claiming that they are on Afghan soil, why aren’t they holding talks on Afghan soil?” Ghani asked, adding that the Afghan government is ready to negotiate with the Taliban in any area of Afghanistan that the group chooses.
“Afghans can negotiate under a tent, too, and in cold weather. This is not the time for luxury hotels to be considered as preconditions. It is necessary that all the people should see how the talks are moving forward, what are the areas of focus, and why,” Ghani said.
The National Security Adviser Hamdullah Mohib on Saturday said the next rounds of the peace negotiations between the teams of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban should be conducted in Afghanistan, adding that the government does not have any issue with any venue that is selected by the Taliban.
The peace negotiations witnessed a breakthrough earlier this month after the two sides agreed on procedural rules for the talks. The working groups of both teams held three meetings to discuss the agenda of the talks last week. Their meetings were expected to be held this week but were delayed as the two sides were consulting internally on the demands to be included in the agenda of the talks.
Mohib said the Afghan government is ready to hold talks with the Taliban in any part of the country that the group suggests.
The National Security Adviser went on to defend his comments, saying that talks within Afghanistan will build trust in the peace negotiations and will provide Afghans the ability to monitor and own the talks.
Mohib said in a series of tweets that talks within Afghanistan will provide the negotiators an awareness about the people and their demands and it will prevent additional costs for the process.
Therefore, Mohib said, there is a need to hold the next rounds of the peace negotiations within Afghanistan so that peace becomes countrywide and enduring and is influenced by realities in Afghanistan’s community instead of being impacted by foreigners’ conditions.
He further said that peace negotiations abroad-- and their negotiators--are overshadowed by conditions abroad and that experience has shown that such types of peace will not favor the interests of Afghanistan.
This comes as Taliban deputy leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, at the Heart of Asia Society’s 7th session on Thursday, said the group has the will to solve Afghanistan's conflict through negotiations.
He stated that the next political system of Afghanistan should be an "inclusive" and Islamic system.
Baradar said that the next political system will also ensure the protection of public utility infrastructures, women’s rights, media rights, and Afghanistan’s bilateral relations with all other nations in line with the Islamic principles.
The peace negotiators are expected to come to Kabul today for consultations as the talks were paused for 23 days.