President Ashraf Ghani on Wednesday met with Qatar’s Special Envoy of the Minister of Foreign Affairs Ambassador Mutlaq bin Majed Al Qahtani, who was visiting Afghanistan.
According to a statement issued by Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, they discussed bilateral relations and ways to enhance cooperation.
The ministry said in a statement Ghani and Al Qantani also discussed ways to achieve peace and stability in Afghanistan and the efforts by Qatar in terms of mediation in bringing together various parties involved in the conflict.
The statement said Ghani praised the efforts of Qatar in mediating between the Afghan parties and its keenness on achieving peace in Afghanistan.
There has however been no comment as yet from the Afghan government on the meeting.
This comes after the US Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs Alice Wells met with Taliban officials last month in Qatar to discuss ways to lay the groundwork for peace talks.
The aim of the discussion was to build on momentum created by the recent three-day ceasefire over Eid al-Fitr.
On Wednesday however the High Peace Council (HPC) said the Afghan government was aware of three sessions of talks between US officials and members of the Taliban’s political office in Qatar.
Taliban political office in Qatar has also confirmed three sessions of talks were held with US officials in Doha.
The head of HPC secretariat, Mohammad Akram Khpulwak, said Afghanistan has inched closer towards peace.
He said efforts by the US and Muslim countries are aimed at facilitating direct peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban. Khpulwak added that no commitment has been made by the US to the Taliban during the talks.
“Official talks have not started by anyone in any place so far. These talks are aimed at facilitating direct talks with the Taliban. I am sure that direct talks (between government and Taliban) will start,” he said.
Sources close to the Taliban said the fourth round of talks between the group and US officials will be more serious and will focus on fundamental issues around peace talks.
“Such talks were preliminary. The next round of talks will discuss more fundamental issues about the peace negotiations,” said Nazar Mohammad Motmaen, a political affairs analyst.
Afghan government has said on many occasions the process will be an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace initiative.
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