The Afghan government on Tuesday said that the list of delegates to represent the republic in Istanbul has been finalized.
A high-level Afghan government official who spoke on condition of anonymity told TOLOnews that there is the possibility that a 15- or 17-member team will represent the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan at the conference scheduled for April 24.
Meanwhile, the High Council of National Reconciliation (HCNR) also confirmed the finalization of the republic's negotiating team.
However, the Taliban has insisted that the US first needs to implement the Doha agreement before the start of the Istanbul conference, meaning that the US needs to honor its agreement signed under the Trump administration to withdraw all US troops from Afghanistan by May 1.
The US, Turkey, Qatar and UN have reportedly attempted to convince the Taliban to attend the planned meeting in Turkey.
“The list of the delegates of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan has been finalized, the list will be made public in the near future,” said Faraidoon Khawzon, a spokesman for the HCNR.
“There is a need for a national consensus among the Afghans so that we can reach a positive outcome,” said Juma Khan Hamdard, the head of the Hizb-e-Islami councils.
The UN-led conference on Afghanistan is scheduled to take place on April 24.
However, the HCNR leadership committee so far has not convened its meeting about the peace roadmap prepared by the republic side.
This comes a day after the US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad briefed the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations behind closed doors about the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan in September.
US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said on Sunday that no one can offer guarantees about Afghanistan's future after US troops leave, but he stressed that the United States would stay focused on terrorist threats emanating from the country.
This comes as US President Joe Biden announced last week that the United States will withdraw its remaining 2,500 troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11.
The deal signed between former US President Donald Trump’s administration and the Taliban marked its first anniversary on February 29, with the Afghan government saying that the accord did not produce the expected results, as violence in the country has increased. But the Taliban says it is a practical step toward achieving peace and stability in the country.
The US and Taliban deal was signed after 18 months of talks between the US negotiating team led by special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and Taliban negotiators in Doha.
The United States agreed in the deal to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan by May 1st and the Taliban committed to cutting their ties with al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups and to not allow terrorist groups to operate on Afghan soil.
Meanwhile, US Senator Robert Menendez has said that there are still no good options available to remove challenges in Afghanistan.
“There are serious questions for me after 20 years of blood and national treasure, the question is still in my mind how do we also make sure that the Taliban will not overrun the Afghan government---how do we preserve the rights of Afghan women and civil society that have been achieved, ” said US Senator Robert Menendez.