Afghanistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) on Saturday said in reaction to Taliban representatives’ remarks in Moscow that now the Afghan security forces are established, the Taliban will not win anything by continuing the war.
MoFA’s remarks come after Taliban representatives said on Friday in Moscow that peace will remain elusive in Afghanistan until foreign troops have been withdrawn. They also warned they will use force to drive out foreign forces from Afghanistan.
Speaking at a press conference Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, a Taliban representative, said the group would first discuss issues concerning the US with the Americans and emphasized that their main demand was the withdrawal of foreign troops.
MoFA said if Taliban claim they are independent, then they should enter into direct talks with the Afghan government.
MoFA also said Kabul and Moscow had agreed that the Summit should lead to direct talks between the Afghan government and Taliban.
“If Taliban claim independency, then they should enter direct talks with the government,” MoFA spokesman Sebghat Ahmadi said.
The five Taliban representatives who attended the Moscow Summit said at a press conference that after discussing issues with the Americans, then they will discuss Afghanistan’s internal affairs with the Afghan side.
Stanikzai said the Taliban does not consider the current government in Afghanistan as legitimate.
“When they (Americans) give an international guarantee for the withdrawal of their forces, then it is possible to talk to the Afghan side also. But in Afghanistan with those political parties who have influence over the people of Afghanistan, not this present government. Because the present government does not have the support of the people in Afghanistan,” said Stanikzai.
Taliban representatives also said in addition to Washington, they are in contact with a number of Afghanistan’s political parties over peace talks. They also said remarks about Taliban’s harsh rules are just baseless propaganda.
In addition they blasted Afghan government officials for their actions and behavior.
“They are ministers and have illegal armed groups and are committing robbery, forcefully grabbing land. Today you see in Kabul, even mountains have been grabbed. Who are the terrorist groups? They are the terrorist groups,” Stanikzai said.
A number of international affairs analysts and MPs meanwhile criticized government for the lack of an authorized Afghan government representative and the weak performance of the High Peace Council at the meeting.
Footage released from the meeting shows that in addition to representatives of the High Peace Council, Afghanistan’s former ambassador to Moscow Abdul Qayum Kochi was also at the meeting.
Government sources said they were not aware of Kochi’s attendance at the meeting.
“Government was not aware of the content of the conference. Government should have had an accurate assessment about the consequences of the conference and its importance,” international affairs analyst Hadi Miran said.
“Yesterday Taliban had something to say. For example, they talked about the withdrawal of foreign forces and controlling 72 percent of Afghanistan soil. But the High Peace Council did not have any strong remarks to mention there,” MP Ghulam Farooq Majrooh said.
“I think this meeting was just a waste of time,” MP Zmarak Padkhabi said.
“Such talks should be led by Afghans,” MP Nader Khan Katawazai said.
In addition, some critics claim that government prevented a number of Afghan political figures from attending the Moscow meeting.
MoFA however rejected the claims.
The Moscow Meeting was attended by representatives of Taliban and envoys from 11 countries including the United States. It took place on Friday in Russia