Abdullah Abdullah, chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation, spoke at a women's gathering on Afghan peace in Kabul on Thursday and said that the Afghan peace process has “reached a special stage.”
"For us, it was important that the negotiations start. The negotiating team is working in a very united way,” Abdullah said.
He also said "support for the negotiating team helps the team work harder."
“Hopefully the second round of the talks will start exactly on time,” Abdullah said.
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.
Both sides will resume their meetings in Doha on January 5.
"With the release of the Taliban prisoners we should have had a ceasefire or a significant reduction in violence," Abdullah said at the guttering, adding: "Unfortunately, it didn't happen. Both sides must understand the war is not the way."
"The people of Afghanistan expect optimal results from the peace process," Abdullah said.
"A reduction in violence is at the top of the agenda proposed by Afghanistan (republic's side)," Abdullah said. "Both sides must come together and enter the main discussion in the peace process."
Second round of talks
On Wednesday, Abdullah said that the next venue for the second round of peace negotiation talks between the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban will be determined in coordination between the negotiators from the two sides, saying the issue of the venue shouldn’t cause any delays for holding the second round of the talks.
Abdullah made the remarks at a meeting with members of the negotiating team representing the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in the talks with the Taliban. The Kabul team returned from Doha on Tuesday.
Before this, President Ashraf Ghani in a cabinet meeting on Monday echoed NSA Hamdullah Mohib to say that the second round of the peace negotiation talks should be held in Afghanistan.
The Taliban has opposed President Ashraf Ghani’s call to hold the next round of the peace negotiations in Afghanistan, saying the request signals fear on the republic's side.
Reduction in violence
President Ashraf Ghani spoke with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday evening and they discussed the peace process and their concerns over the escalation of violence in Afghanistan, Presidential Palace spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said.
Prime Minister Imran Khan told President Ghani that Pakistan will help Afghanistan bring down the level of violence, leading to ceasefire, said Sediqqi.
Islamabad in a statement said that Khan had a phone call with Ghani to discuss the progress in the ongoing Afghan peace process and the strengthening of Pakistan-Afghanistan relations.
Khan reiterated Pakistan’s steadfast support for the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process for a political solution to the conflict in Afghanistan, it said.
“The Prime Minister reiterated Pakistan’s call on all the Afghan sides for taking measures for reduction in violence leading to ceasefire,” it added.