Ghani meets with key Afghans to discuss Ankara summit

President Ashraf Ghani hosted a meeting Thursday of high-ranking Afghan officials and other influential individuals in order to formulate a comprehensive plan for the upcoming peace summit in Ankara, Turkey.

According to the Presidential Palace (ARG), Ghani hopes to secure national consensus to strengthen government’s position in the talks.

ARG said that the meeting was attended by Abdullah Abdullah, chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation; former Mujahideen leader Abdul Rab Rasul Sayyaf; former vice president Marshal Abdul Rashid Dostum; Sayed Mansur Naderi, head of the National Solidarity Party of Afghanistan and leader of Ismailis in the country; Mohammad Mohaqiq, the president’s senior adviser; former Balkh governor Atta Mohammad Noor; former vice president Mohammad Younus Qanooni former governor Juma Khan Hamdard; Zabiullah Mujadadi, a jihadist; some members of parliament; the Supreme Court chief justice, and the president’s two deputies.

“The meeting focused on the general security situation, strengthening the national consensus, and the continuation of consultative meetings,” said Dawa Khan Menapal, the deputy presidential spokesman.

However a number of political figures who attended the meeting said it was more focused on creating a single plan for the Ankara summit which is expected to be held on March 27.

“The atmosphere at the meeting was such that all political leaders and even government leaders called for peace, called for an immediate end to the war, and decided to work on a peace plan to reach a conclusion at the Ankara summit soon,” said Satar Murad, a close ally of Atta Noor.

Following US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s letter to Ghani and other key roleplayers along with the plan to establish a transitional government, Ghani appears to be working to bring together political figures in order to establish a unified plan for peace talks.

“In general the meeting was a consultative meeting as a whole, all important Afghan political issues were included; this was not a specific decision-making meeting; and it was just a consultation to build national consensus,” said Faizullah Safi, a close ally of Juma Khan Hamdard.

ARG meanwhile said consultative meetings on peace in Afghanistan will continue. However there were some notable individuals not present at Thursday’s meeting, including former president Hamid Karzai.