Foreign envoys trying to persuade Taliban to attend Turkey Conference

Sources from the High Council for National Reconciliation (HCNR) said on Sunday that envoys from the United Nations, U.S, Turkey, and Qatar in Doha are trying to convince the Taliban to attend the upcoming Istanbul Conference.

Following the announcement that all foreign troops will be out of Afghanistan by September and not May 1 as per the US-Taliban agreement signed in February last year, the Taliban said it will not participate in any conference on Afghanistan’s future until there has been a full withdrawal of all foreign forces.

On Sunday, Hajji Din Mohammad, the deputy head of the HCNR said UN and US envoys “have no meeting with us [Afghan delegation], they have put in efforts to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table in Turkey.”

“Taliban believe that the Doha deal has been violated by the US and therefore, they will not participate in any meeting,” said Mawalwi Qalamuddin, a politician.

The HCNR meanwhile said that they are working to finalize their list of participants for the Istanbul Conference.

“Preparations have been made for the Istanbul Conference and the agenda will be finalized soon,” said Faridon Khawzon, a spokesman for the HCNR.

Analysts however believe that the opportunity for peace will be missed if the Taliban does not attend the Istanbul Conference.

“The Taliban and government should try their best to reach peace, and should not miss this opportunity,” said Aziz Maharaj, an international relations analyst.

The HCNR says that Afghan negotiators are in contact with the Taliban in Doha to discuss related issues about peace.

Mohammad Naeem, the group’s Qatar-based spokesman announced last week that the group would not attend the Turkey Conference until all troops had left.

“Until all foreign forces completely withdraw from our homeland, the Islamic Emirate will not participate in any conference that shall make decisions about Afghanistan,” Naeem tweeted.