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Iran Press TV

Afghanistan plans 'detailed' peace talks with Taliban

Iran Press TV

Thu Jul 9, 2015 3:45PM

An Afghan negotiator say Kabul is set to hold "detailed" discussions with members of the Taliban militant group on ways to end the fighting in the Asian country in the next session of peace talks slated for later this month.

Senior Afghan negotiator Hajji Din Mohammad made remarks on Thursday after returning from the first face-to-face talks with Taliban commanders, which was held on Tuesday in Pakistan.

The Afghan official also said that the latest session in Murree, a hill station north of the Pakistani capital Islamabad, concluded with an agreement to meet again around July 18 following Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

Mohammad also described Tuesday's meeting as a step in the right direction and vowed more substantive talks on ending the violence in Afghanistan during the upcoming round of talks.

"It is not easy to begin negotiations at any point, both sides have their own demands, but since it was the first official meeting, we consider it a positive step forward," said the Afghan negotiator, adding, "In that meeting, a detailed discussion will be focused on preventing bloodshed in Afghanistan."

Among the participants was also a member of the Haqqani network, a militant group blamed for some of the deadliest attacks across Afghanistan in recent years, according to the negotiator.

Meanwhile, Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Khalil Karzai, who led a four-member delegation of the Afghan High Peace Council (HPC) in the Murree talks, has insisted that the people they met had the permission of the Taliban leadership.

"The people we met did have permission from the Taliban leadership and were representing Quetta Shura," he said.

Sources say the Afghan Taliban leadership is believed to be based in the southwestern Pakistani city of Quetta.

Some media reports indicate that senior Pakistani civilian and military officials have been persuading the Taliban leadership in recent months to embark on peace talks with the US and the Afghan governments.

Tensions have also been rising between Islamabad and Kabul over the issue of militancy in recent months.

Senior officials in Kabul blames elements inside the Pakistani spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) for supporting the Taliban militants, while Islamabad blames the Afghan government for giving shelter to militants on its side of the border.

Afghan government representatives have already held indirect talks with the Taliban militant group in the Qatar and Norway.

In June 2013, the Taliban militant group opened an office in Doha, but closed it a month later. However, the Taliban office was reopened again in February 2015.

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