A 15-member committee in the High Council of National Reconciliation (HCNR) under the chairmanship of former Afghan Vice President Mohammad Younus Qanooni, and including Foreign Minister Hanif Atmar, National Security Adviser Hamdullah Mohib, the State Minister on Peace Affairs and other political leaders, is attempting this week to gather and finalize various submitted perspectives and plans for the Afghan peace process ahead of the UN-led conference on Afghanistan in Turkey, officials from HCNR said.
The peace council said that until now no exact date about the date of the potential conference in Turkey has been shared; however, TOLOnews learned on Tuesday that US peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad had reportedly shared a specific date for the conference with the negotiation teams in Doha.
The council also said there are overlapping ideas for peace among the various proposals, and the council expects to make a final document by the end of the week..
“There is a 15-member committee which is led by Mr. Qanooni--we hope that the committee wraps up its work by the end of the week so that we are able to prepare the draft,” said Faraidoon Khawzon, a spokesman for HCNR.
Afghan politicians shared their views:
“The US plan is quite clear. Perhaps they gathered some views, but I think things are taking place in a hasty way and they just want to make a cover for it and can say: 'yes, we gathered the views of the people,'” said Ahmad Wali Massoud, former Afghan ambassador to Britain.
The peace council has not offered any details about the plans provided by the multiple political parties, but a recent peace plan unveiled by President Ashraf Ghani called for three phases, including of (1) making peace or holding talks with the Taliban, (2) building peace – with language that hints at a transitional government, and (3) sustaining peace, which indirectly refers to a post-transitional government situation.
Some politicians say Ghani’s plan is not practical.
“It does not look practical in view of the situation we have in the region and the views that exist behind closed doors in various countries,” said Rahmatullah Nabil, the former head of the NDS, Afghanistan's intelligence agency.
“There is a need for a unified and national plan with a consensus of all the leaders and it should be practical and should be implemented quickly—if we go with widespread plans, then the international community will not have a good judgement of us,” said presidential adviser Shahzada Massoud.
The Turkey conference:
US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad sent a letter to negotiators representing the Afghan republic and the Taliban specifying the date for the Turkey conference on Afghanistan, sources in Qatar said.
The sources said that a political consensus for an early solution to the Afghanistan crisis, the establishment of a shared government and a regional and international consensus will be the main parts of the agenda at the Turkey summit.
The sources said that Khalilzad shared the details of the Turkey conference with both teams of negotiators in Doha after multilateral meetings held in Qatar to unify the summit agenda failed to result in any tangible progress.
But the two sides of delegates have so far have not commented on receiving the details on the Turkey summit agenda from Khalilzad.
Multilateral meetings have been underway in Doha for less than two weeks, during which representatives of the Afghan republic, the Taliban, UN, US, Turkey and Qatar have held talks on the Istanbul conference.
Sources said that the details of the agenda handed to the negotiators will be made public if they are accepted by the two sides.
Back in Kabul, political leaders are assessing more than two dozen peace proposals, including that of President Ashraf Ghani, and intend to compress them into a “unified” proposal to present at the Turkey summit.
Abdullah Abdullah, head of the reconciliation council, tweeted on Tuesday that the political leaders in their recent meetings continue to discuss in detail the peace proposals “to unify the republic's position for the Istanbul’s peace conference.”
But Nabil said that President Ghani’s proposal – with its three main parts of making, building, and maintaining peace – will not be suitable for the country.
The exact date of the Turkey conference is not known yet but recently sources said that there are discussions about April 16 as a potential date for the start of the event.
The reconciliation council has said that a 12 to 15-member team will represent the republic in the conference. The Taliban so far has not talked about the formation of their delegation that will attend the meeting.