Cairo, Sep 12 (efe-epa).- Historic peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government began Saturday in Doha with the participation of the country’s chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation, Abdullah Abdullah, the United States’ Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, as well as top Taliban leaders.
“We have come to this country to achieve a dignified and lasting peace,” said Abdullah at the opening of the dialog, emphasizing that this moment would be remembered in Afghanistan’s history as “the end of the suffering of our people.”
The chairman said the end of the war through a political agreement was a “legitimate” demand of the Afghans and that the people of the troubled country had already “suffered enough.”
He added that there is no winner in the current conflict, and called for establishing an “Islamic, constitutional and inclusive” system that preserves the rights of all Afghans, including men, women, children and the victims of war.
“A lasting peace can pave the way for the return of millions of refugees,” he said of the many who have fled the war in recent decades, mostly to neighboring Pakistan (2.4 million) and Iran (up to 3 million).
Abdullah asked that the failed meeting in 1995 between the Taliban and the prominent assassinated commander Ahmad Shah Masoud, who fought against the Soviets and later with the insurgents, not be repeated.
The Taliban’s chief negotiator, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, called for prioritizing “benefits to all” and not just some sectors, and that the peace talks proceed with “a lot of patience and attention.”
“We will continue the Afghan peace negotiations with total honesty,” he said, advocating an “independent, united and developed” Afghanistan with an Islamic system that makes all citizens feel included.
Qatar’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mohamed bin Abdulrahman al Thani, on behalf of the Qatari mediation side, recalled how history has shown that military force does not work in Afghanistan and called for an immediate ceasefire.
Mike Pompeo described the negotiations as “a truly momentous occasion.”