Delegates who attended the Moscow peace talks said the meeting was satisfying and successful and they hope that the continuation of such initiatives will lead to lasting peace.
The delegates told reporters that they had fruitful talks and reached agreements on many issues and hope to reach more agreements at future talks.
The two-day Moscow talks between Afghan politicians and Taliban wrapped up on Wednesday when they issued a joint declaration that highlights nine key points they agreed on.
The delegates have agreed to hold the next round of the talks in the Qatar capital, Doha.
Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, head of the Taliban delegation, told reporters that he hopes that they reach more agreements on peace in the near future as they have agreed on many issues in Moscow.
“It was very successful, and we agreed on many points and I am hopeful that in future we can succeed more and eventually reach a solution, we can find complete peace in Afghanistan,” Stanikzai said.
Sources meanwhile said that former president Hamid Karzai, former VP Mohammad Yunus Qanooni, former Balkh governor Atta Mohammad Noor, former Afghan envoy to Pakistan Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal and a few other Afghan politicians discussed the articles of the declaration behind closed doors for nearly five hours.
Withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan, supporting Doha peace talks, removing Taliban members’ names from the UN blacklist, the release of Taliban prisoners and official inauguration of Taliban’s political office in Qatar are among the agreements reached in Moscow talks.
Before the declaration was released, Karzai said the main issues they focused on in Moscow were peace and stability in Afghanistan and the withdrawal of foreign forces from the country.
“Principle issues and wishes were peace, stability, an Afghanistan free of foreign forces, an Afghanistan free of intervention from any side. A sovereign Afghanistan, a progressive Afghanistan, an Afghanistan in which women and men together would be educated and work for its future,” Karzai said.
Former national security advisor Mohammad Haneef Atmar meanwhile told reporters that they reached an agreement that says the intra-Afghan negotiations should be inclusive which means the Afghan government will be included in future talks.
“The Taliban were not ready to talk to the government directly, we met with the Taliban today and if you look at the statement, an agreement was reached that intra-Afghan dialogue will be all inclusive which means there will be participation from the government of Afghanistan,” said Atmar.
The declaration also says that women’s rights and freedom of speech will be respected. But nothing has been mentioned about a ceasefire and Constitution amendment.
“Taliban’s view was that the current Constitution is not acceptable, but the delegation from Afghanistan stated that the Constitution is a legitimate Constitution, of course, the Constitution should be reformed. Because it was an issue that there was no agreement, that is why in the resolution you see there is no mention about that,” MP Fawzia Kofi said.
Meanwhile, sources close to the US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad said Khalilzad sees Moscow talks as a positive step and will support the next round of talks in Doha.
The sources also said the US is considering holding a meeting in the next six months that will be attended by the Taliban, the Afghan government, Afghan politicians and political parties to discuss the Afghan peace process.