Afghan Taliban to open its political office in Turkey

Arif Qureshi

Islamabad: Turkish Government officially offered Tehrik Taliban Afghanistan (TIA) to open its political office in Istanbul.  The recent development came in a quadrilateral intra-Afghan peace dialogue started in Turkish capital Istanbul on Saturday, to find a negotiated end to the decades-long conflict in Afghanistan, reported by  Pajhwok Afghan News agency. The representatives of Afghan Taliban, Hezb-i-Islami Afghanistan (HIA) led by Gulbadin Hekmatyar and envoy of High Peace Council (HPC) of Afghanistan headed by Karim Khalili were among the participants.

According to details Taliban’s Qatar Office members, Mullah Mohammad Rassoul splinter faction members, the Afghan government representatives and Hezb-i-Islami Afghanistan (HIA) members were attending the huddle. Rahmatullah Wardak is representing the Taliban, Mullah Rauf the Rassoul group, Abdul Halim, Haji Dawajan Ahmadzai and Homayoon Jarir the HIA and Dr. Basir, envoy of High Peace Council (HPC) head Karim Khalili is speaking on behalf of the government in the session.

It is said that the meeting is a follow up of Hezb-i-Islami Afghanistan (HIA) leader Gulbadin Hekmatyar secret visit of turkey in last November in which he convinced the Turkish Government to offer Afghan Taliban to open political office in Istanbul as Afghan Government has some reservations over Afghan Taliban office in Qatar. Hezb-i-Islami Afghanistan (HIA) led by Gulbadin Hekmat is trying its best to bring Afghan Taliban to negotiations table to end decade old conflict.

last month during his visit to southeastern Paktia and Khost provinces Gulbadin Hekmatyar had offered the Afghan Taliban to join peace process saying that the ongoing conflict has no winner and will burn the Afghan nation since this is a conflict among the Afghan people and only the nation will suffer.

A spokesman for the HIA, Mohammad Nadar Afghan, confirmed the gathering to Pajhwok. However, he said, Homayoon Jarir and Dawajan Ahmadzai had not participated in the gathering on behalf of the HIA. He said Jarir was a presidential advisor and both might be privately invited to the gathering. Also an official of the HPC confirmed to Pajhwok the gathering in Turkey; however, he didn’t go into details.

He said a Taliban member named Rahmatullah Wardak was attending the gathering. Wardak, a former Da Afghanistan Bank (DAB) employee had served as an intelligence operative in the Tailban regime. Wardak has been running a bee honey business in Dubai over the past few years. According to the Taliban source, this was a third meeting of the kind taking placing between the Afghan government and Taliban representatives in Turkey. “But the recent (this meeting) is organized as a result of HIA leader Gulbuddin Hekmtyar’s visit to the country.”

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