A former official of the Taliban has said that the two-day talks in Abu Dhabi around Afghan peace was important because of Saudi Arabia’s participation as according to him, the US and the Taliban acknowledge the Kingdom’s role in the talks.
In a report on Thursday, Arab News quoted Mutasim Agha Jan, Taliban Quetta Shura member and former finance minister of the group during their rule in Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, as saying that Taliban has a lot of respect to Saudi leadership and its government.
According to the report, Mutasim said the role played by Saudi Arabia is key to success for the talks.
His remarks come amid increasing efforts by the Afghan government and its international allies, US on the top, to find a peaceful solution to the Afghan conflict.
In line with these efforts, the US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, on Thursday met with Afghan government leaders, political leaders and activists in Kabul to discuss the Afghan peace.
In an interview with TOLOnews on Thursday, Khalilzad said Taliban has accepted that they cannot win militarily and that political settlement should be sought for ending the crisis in the country.
The Arab News report says that Mutasim described the talks in the UAE as an important phase, reasoning that the process now enjoys support from Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and the UAE.
He termed Pakistan’s participation in the talks and its role as important.
He said that the details of the discussion were unlikely to be made public and that things will be clearer going forward.
“Taliban wants to progress on the release of prisoners, recognition of their political office, removing names of senior leaders from the UN sanctions list, and halt to air strikes and nights raids. These will be important confidence-building measures ahead of the formal talks. The Taliban will show a positive response if the other side takes some confidence-building measures,” he said as quoted by Arab News.
According to the report, Mutasim said the UAE talks were mainly focused on building trust and that key issues like a ceasefire and elections will be discussed at a later stage.
The former Taliban official said that both the US and other parties involved wanted the Afghan government to join the process later.
“Some of the Taliban’s demands are related to the US such as the issue of foreign troops, airstrikes, sanctions on the Taliban, and even the reopening of the office. So they await the US’ response first,” Mutasim said as quoted by Arab News.