The presidential palace (ARG) on Sunday confirmed Kabul will attend Moscow talks on peace in Afghanistan, which are scheduled to start mid-month.
The Afghan delegation that will attend the conference will include high-ranking officials who will try to persuade the regional countries to help fight terrorism, said President Ashraf Ghani’s deputy spokesman Shahhussain Murtazawi.
The Moscow peace initiative is scheduled for April 14 and is expected to be attended by delegations from 12 countries including China, Pakistan, Iran, India and five central Asian nations.
Talking on the significance of the talks, a number of lawmakers in the Wolesi Jirga (Lower House of Parliament) said Afghan officials must try to forge regional harmony regarding the situation in Afghanistan.
This comes amid indications that Russia’s interest in Afghanistan is growing – a move that is of concern to Kabul.
“Afghanistan will send a delegation to the conference, the delegation of the ministry of foreign affairs of Afghanistan will be at a deputy or chief level,” said Murtazawi.
However, some feel that the Moscow meeting could help forge better ties between nations in the region.
“Afghanistan should try to forge regional harmony at such meetings so that these countries come forward to help Afghanistan in the war against terrorism,” said MP Sayed Ali Kazimi.
Russia has indicated that the Taliban will not be at the meeting.
“No one is authorized to give direction about the presence and withdrawal of international forces in Afghanistan,” added Murtazawi.
The Afghan government has strongly opposed Russia’s support to the Taliban and this week spoke out against Moscow’s purported support of the Taliban in the group’s call for the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan.
“It is necessary to bring the Taliban to the negotiations table, a halt to the war must be a precondition and the Taliban must be asked to stop their suicide attacks across Afghanistan,” said political activist Ajmal Balochzada.
Moscow hosted a six-country meeting on February 15, bringing together officials from Pakistan, China, Afghanistan, Russia, Iran and India. A previous meeting, in December, had however upset Kabul as it had been excluded from discussions.