The first meeting between the Taliban and Afghan government representatives on ending the 18-year-old war in the war-torn country has been cancelled over a delegation dispute, officials said on Friday. Sharing Pakistan's reaction with Business Recorder over the cancellation of intra-Afghan dialogue which was scheduled for April 20-21 in Doha, Dr Faisal said that Pakistan supports the intra-Afghan dialogue and hopes that the talks continue to bring peace and stability in Afghanistan.
The United States, which is leading an effort to end the war, signalled its disappointment and urged both sides to return to the table, though organisers gave no hint about when the conference might be rescheduled.
Sultan Barakat, Director of Doha Institute, which was expected to host the Afghans-Taliban meeting in Qatar, said in a tweet that the meeting was delayed as it is "unfortunately necessary to further build consensus as to who should participate in the conference". That list differed from Ghani's list of 250 people, which included many more women, according to a senior government official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media.
Although the Taliban did not immediately comment on the announcement, Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the group, questioned that size of the Kabul delegation on Wednesday, which included political figures, warlords, civil society activists, women, parliamentarians, youth representatives, officials, and local elders. "It was agreed that all participants of the conference shall declare their own personal views regarding the Afghan issue however the Kabul administration officials launched efforts to introduce this conference as a negotiation's meetings between the Kabul administration and the Islamic Emirate (the name Taliban uses for its former regime), a position in conflict with the policy of the conference", the Taliban spokesperson said. "This doesn't reflect a lack of will to deliver #peace but clearly the moment is not yet right".
The global community was looked forward the Doha summit to take place amidst the bloodshed Taliban was causing in Afghanistan after it announced its annual spring offensive two weeks ago.
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Kabul blamed the Qatari government for the summit's derailment.
Even some of those Mr Ghani said would attend dropped out, slamming the guest list as rigged to politically strengthen the president, who faces delayed elections in September.
The Taliban had previously refused to hold direct talks with Ghani's government, calling them puppets of the US.
"We're in touch with all parties and encouraged that everyone remains committed to dialogue and the Afghan peace process", Khalilzad said in a tweet on Friday. The Taliban has long refused to recognize the Kabul government while holding peace discussions with USA officials in this Persian Gulf sheikhdom.
After US-Taliban talks in February, Khalilzad announced a "draft framework" for a peace deal, though he warned major hurdles remain.