Taliban Not Ready to Attend Turkey Summit on April 16: Naeem

The Taliban is not ready to attend the Turkey conference on the expected date, April 16, given their consultations on the details of the event, spokesman Mohammad Naeem said.

He said the Taliban is reviewing the details of the Turkey conference agenda shared with them by the United States.

Naeem said that the leadership of the group has not made a final decision on the agenda and the formation of its delegation for the Istanbul conference. He said they will soon announce their stance on the issue.

“The Taliban has said that things will not move forward unless the issue of withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan is made clear, therefore, I think that the Turkey conference will not be held unless these issues are made clear,” said Sayed Akbar Agha, a former Taliban commander.

The details of the agenda have also been shared with the Afghan government, according to sources within the Presidential Palace.

Meanwhile, Zalmay Khalilzad, the US special representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, left Kabul on Monday after a four-day visit during which he met with Afghan political leaders, the civil society and youth.

“It had two messages: one is that less time is available and you should hurry in making the list. And another message is that the Taliban’s demands for attending the summit has been shared with the republic,” said Rahmatullah Nabil, the former head of Afghanistan’s intelligence agency.

As a new development, a 15-member committee under the High Council for National Reconciliation finalized its review on unifying a peace proposal after assessing at least 25 proposals, including the one proposed by President Ghani.

The unified proposal that will need approval by the leadership committee of the council puts forward two options, including Ghani’s proposal for a republic system and a “semi-presidential” system.

A copy of the proposal that has been leaked to the media shows that it has 14 pages and suggests a three-year term for a transitional peace government and that its term is extendable.

According to the document, the transitional peace government includes an executive branch, a judicial branch, a national assembly, a national Islamic jurisdiction council, the high council of government and a commission for the amendment of the constitution.

The proposal calls for the executive branch to include a president with his four deputies, including a woman, a prime minister with his four deputies, including a woman, cabinet ministers and independent directorates.

It is expected that the leadership committee of the reconciliation council will make a final decision on unifying the proposed plan reviewed by the 15-member committee. A proposal that is finalized by the leadership committee will be presented at the Turkey conference on Afghanistan.