Russia to host meeting on Afghan peace process

Amidst new efforts by the US to expedite Afghanistan’s reconciliation efforts, officials have confirmed that Russia is planning to host a meeting on the war-torn country’s peace process.

Politicians from Afghanistan, including President Ashraf Ghani and High Council for National Reconciliation chair Abdullah Abdullah, as well as foreign envoys and Taliban representatives, are expected to attend the meeting in Moscow on March 18, the reconciliation council’s spokesman Fraidoon Khwazoon said on Tuesday.

“A conference will be held. Some figures have been invited. The reconciliation council chairman has also been invited,” TOLO News quoted Khwazoon said as saying.

“The High Council for National Reconciliation is consulting on the meeting and will decide whether to participate in the conference or not,” he said, adding that “Russia has an important role in the Afghan peace process”.

The aim of the meeting is to accelerate Afghanistan’s peace talks in Doha to put an end to the Afghan conflict, a source said, adding that the meeting has been coordinated with the US.

Envoys from China, US and Pakistan will attend the meeting, according to a source.

The Afghan Presidential Palace is yet to officially comment on the development.

Meanwhile on Wednesday, sources close to the Taliban told TOLO News that a proposed UN-led conference on Afghan peace in Turkey may take place on March 27.

But neither the Afghan government nor the US has confirmed this news.

The conference was proposed by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in his letter to President Ashraf Ghani.