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Feb 19, 2019
Regional states may get greater role in Afghan-led talks
KABUL (Pajhwok): President Ashraf Ghani and US special representative for Afghan peace Zalmay Khalilzad have agreed on a new mechanism to advance the reconciliation process.
Presidential spokesman Haroon Chakhansouri, addressing a press conference said Ghani and Khalilzad had conferred on a wide range of issues around the Afghan peace process.
Under the new mechanism agreed with Khalilzad, actions would be taken based on the framework to advance the peace process, Chakhansouri promised.
On the Afghan-led peace process, he suggested the situation in Islamic countries should be considered and further talks should take place on a new framework.
Khalilzad said a day earlier they had discussed four issues -- Taliban’s relations with Al Qaeda, the presence of US troops, direct talks with the Afghan government and a nationwide ceasefire in several meetings with the Taliban.
He called a ceasefire and direct talks with the Afghan government were the most important issues. All issues are inter-related and the Afghan government should have a central role in decisions in this regard.
Chakhansuri added there was regional and international consensus and efforts were being made to strengthen it in order to enhance the role of regional countries in Afghan-led talks.
He said Khalilzad was expected to meet Taliban representatives on February 25 in Qatar. The Afghan negotiating team would take part if Taliban agree on direct talks with the government.
Chakhansouri confirmed amendments to electoral law had been made after an agreement with political parties, movements, presidential candidates and civil society activists.
The spokesman said preparations were underway for elections, promising presidential, provincial council and district council polls would be held on schedule.
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