Afghan High Peace Council (HPC) on Friday said that the start of peace talks with Hizb-e-Islamic party is a key step forward towards peace and stability in Afghanistan.
Ayoub Rafiqi, the HPC’s Head of Secretariat, said that it is not yet clear what issues will come up ahead of peace talks and what will be the result of the negotiations.
“Today was the first day of negotiations and we hope to lead the talks to peace and what will come out during negotiations later, we will share with you,” said Rafiqi.
However, the Taliban has so far not responded positively to the call by government to join the peace talks but Hizb-e-Islami, led by Gulbudin Hekmatyar, has apparently taken a step forward and on Thursday met with the High Peace Council’s new leadership.
Analysts believe that Hizb-e-Islami has for years been involved in Afghanistan’s war but say currently the party has lost some of its power and that key members of the party are either active in government or have established new parties.
“In the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) meeting in Pakistan, Hekmatyar, many times, asked Pakistan to give them a chance to participate in the negotiations but Pakistan said they are not at that stage to play a role in the negotiations,” said Ahmad Sayedi, a political analyst.
“Unfortunately there is not a good relation between Taliban and Hizb-e-Islami and there is a kind of mistrust and the proposal of negotiations by Hekmatyar is not pleasant for the Taliban but can encourage those Taliban who are interested in peace,” said Hassan Haqyar, a former Taliban regime deputy minister.
However, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said that they will try to convince the Taliban to come to the peace talks table with Afghan government. This comes after the group recently issued a statement rejecting calls for them to join the peace talks process.