Deputy foreign minister Hekmat Khalil Karzai, Afghanistan’s leading representative to the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG), said on Tuesday that all four nations had agreed at the Islamabad meeting that the Afghan war was “senseless” and that there was a need to end terrorism in the region.
He said Monday’s meeting, attended by representatives from Afghanistan, China, Pakistan and the United States, focused on the framework for the way forward. The next meeting, on Monday in Kabul, will look at the roadmap, he said.
Speaking at a press conference in Kabul, Karzai said the government knows it will take time for peace to come to Afghanistan but he said he believes there is an opportunity in the next two months to bring about a change.
He said the current attempt to restart stalled peace talks was not only about inviting groups to the negotiating table but it was also about ending the war in Afghanistan.
Karzai stated that those who reject peace will face the full wrath of the Afghan security forces – as the security forces will continue to defend the country.
But he said that government will not close its door to any group that wants to participate in the talks.
When asked what role China can play in the peace process, Karzai said China’s role will always be significant – economically, politically and militarily.
He said Afghanistan wants China to continue to participate in the process and to monitor it.
He did say however that Pakistan has not yet presented a list of insurgent groups willing to join the process but said Afghanistan had not expected any list of conditions from Pakistan in the first session.
According to him, government hopes the next meeting will enable the QGC to discuss the roadmap in detail. He said the talks process was a three-phase process – pre-negotiation, direct peace talks and implementation.
This comes after Sayed Zafar Hashemi, deputy spokesman for President Ashraf Ghani, on Monday said government has made it clear that all groups should attend the planned peace talks without any preconditions.
This was in reaction to the Pakistani adviser to the prime minister on foreign affairs Sartaj Aziz’s statement earlier in the day that a number of elements would help achieve a meaningful outcome, including the avoidance of setting preconditions ahead of the negotiation process with the Taliban.
Hashemi said: “The Afghan government as a legal and elected institution is required to implement Afghanistan’s constitution and all our steps, including the peace process, should be in accordance with the constitution.”
He said that government had made it clear that no group should set preconditions for attending the talks.
According to him, peace could not come to Afghanistan without having certain plans in place. “Distinction between those who are ready to negotiate and those who are not ready should be made,” he added.