The Afghan government is trying to coordinate efforts for finalizing the venue and timeline of the intra-Afghan talks, the State Ministry on Peace Affairs said on Saturday.
“The council will be composed of prominent political personalities and influential figures from all layers of the society which will determine the fundamental agendas of the peace talks and monitor the core aspects of the process. The government is trying to coordinate on the venue for the talks so that these talks are started in the near future,” said Najia Anwari, a spokeswoman for the State Ministry on Peace Affairs.
This comes as US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad has begun his new trip to Doha, Islamabad and Kabul to seek a consensus among Afghan parties on practical next steps for intra-Afghan negotiations, said the US Department of State.
According to State Ministry on Peace Affairs, work is also underway on the structure of the High Council for National Reconciliation and the council is expected to determine the agenda for peace talks with the Taliban.
Last week, Abdullah Abdullah, head of the High Council for National Reconciliation, at a press conference in Kabul, said he remained hopeful about the current opportunity for peace, which he said has been provided due to the ceasefire.
But, so far members of the leadership and secretariat of the council have not been finalized.
“Our aim, and that of our colleagues at the High Council for National Reconciliation, is to not spare any efforts for lasting and dignified peace in Afghanistan,” Abdullah said last week, adding that today will be considered his first official day in office.
Abdullah said that during visits on Eid days with President Ghani and other elders, their main discussion was peace and how to use the current opportunity to begin intra-Afghan negotiations.
Abdullah said the negotiation team is a good team and is ready for talks with the Taliban.
“I think there is no unanimity of views and also there are different views about the formation of this council,” said Abdul Rahman Wardak, a member of parliament.
Apparently, the government’s peace negotiating team is also waiting for the work of High Council for National Reconciliation to begun.
"The (government’s peace negotiating team) is fully ready to start the talks, now it depends on the opposing side to take advantage of the opportunity,” said Ghulam Farooq Majroh, a member of government’s peace negotiating team.
Based on the Ghani-Abdullah agreement, the High Council for National Reconciliation will lead the peace efforts.