Two days after unofficial peace talks between government officials and Taliban members in Turkey, the High Peace Council said the group has not officially given the go-ahead to hold formal negotiations.
“Unfortunately, Taliban has not given an official response to the joint call of the nation for starting real negotiations,” the head of High Peace Council secretariat Mohammad Akram Khpulwak said.
“Some factors which are impeding the peace efforts (in Afghanistan) are (because of) the interference by some countries who are not in favor of peace in Afghanistan, the clear interference of Pakistan in this respect, the interference of drug smugglers and activities of terrorist networks,” Khpulwak told a gathering on Tuesday.
The HPC members discussed the recent visit of the United Nations Security Council delegation to Afghanistan at Tuesday's gathering.
The HPC members said they stressed the need for regional and international efforts to achieve peace in Afghanistan and the need to spur on the reconciliation process during the meeting with the UN Security Council.
The High Peace Council Chairman Mohammad Karim Khalili meanwhile said they have been working on mechanisms to prepare a new roadmap and a mechanism for getting the Taliban to the peace talks table.
“Unofficial talks are ongoing with armed opponents,” Khalili told the gathering. “The High Peace Council and government are continuing their efforts to move forward the negotiations.”
According to HPC officials, the organization has held more than 280 consultative meetings in 26 provinces in the country. The HPC believes the consultative meetings will help them get to official peace talks with the Taliban.
This comes two days after two government officials and five Taliban members sat down at an unofficial peace talks meeting in Turkey.
Mawlawi Abdul Rauf, a purported Taliban leader who led the peace talks delegation in Turkey, claimed that they represented all Taliban factions in the negotiations with the Afghan government officials.
However, information obtained by TOLOnews indicates that the envoys who talked with the Taliban delegation in Turkey were not representing the government of Afghanistan.
The Presidential Palace, ARG, on Monday said the individuals who attended the Turkey meeting "were not representing the Afghan government”.
Who were the Taliban members who attended the talks?
Mawlawi Abdul Rauf was governor of Paktia during the Taliban regime in Afghanistan – 1996 to 2001. He did not have any sort of contacts with the group over the recent years, information obtained by TOLOnews shows.
The second person in the Taliban delegation was Mullah Abdul Halim who runs a madrassa, religious school, in the border town of Chaman in Pakistan’s
Baluchistan province. He is a native resident of Kandahar province in the south of Afghanistan.
The third person in the Taliban delegation was Rahmatullah who reportedly owns a shop in Quetta City of Pakistan and has no links with the Taliban.
There was no information about the fourth individual named Mawlawi Sultan who was also in attendance.
The fifth individual was Mullah Dawa Jan Ahmadzai who owns a tourism company in Pakistan’s Peshawar City. It is said that he has no links with the Taliban.
The Taliban delegation however claimed they represent the Islamic Emirate of the Taliban and all those Taliban factions which strongly support an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led dialogue.
“High level Taliban members hopefully will take part in the official round of meetings (in the future),” said Mawlawi Abdul Rauf in an interview with TOLOnews on Sunday evening.
The status of the talks
Humayun Jarir, who claimed he attended the talks as a government representative, told TOLOnews that the negotiations were unofficial and that they will discuss mechanisms to pave the ground for official talks between the two sides.
Humayun Jarir and Abbas Basir, who attended the peace talks, are advisers to President Ashraf Ghani. They said they represented the High Peace Council and the government in the talks.
Zabihullah Mujahid, a self-proclaimed Taliban spokesman, has rejected the claims of a meeting having taken place. He said the delegation does not represent the group.