[Hekmatyar has facilitated this new avenue leading towards real peace, we hope. This new peace outlet in Turkey brings the anti-Taliban militants, under Mullah Rasoul, together with Hekmatyar’s Hezb-i-Islami (HIA) and the Afghan High Peace Council, without interference from the US, Pakistan or Iran. It is time to close the fake “Taliban Office” in Doha and put an end to that US deception, which was intended to prevent real peace talks from taking place outside of US control.]
KABUL (Pajhwok): A quadrilateral intra-Afghan peace dialogue began on Saturday in the Turkish capital Istanbul, to find a negotiated end to the decades-long conflict in Afghanistan, a reliable source said.
A participant of the meeting confided to Pajhwok Afghan News the gathering initiated on Saturday would last three days (until Monday).
The source, wishing anonymity, also shared a few photos of the gathering with Pajhwok, saying the peace dialogue was arranged in cooperation with the Turkish government.
Rahmatullah Wardak is representing the Taliban, Mullah Rauf and Abdul Halim the Rassoul group, Haji Dawajan Ahmadzai and Homayoon Jarir the HIA and Dr. Basir, envoy of High Peace Council (HPC) head Karim Khalili is speaking on behalf of the government in the session.
The source said similar meetings had taken place in Turkey between the sides last year, but media was kept in the dark about them.
The meeting comes as reports suggest the Turkish government has proposed the Taliban to open a political office in the country.
A spokesman for the HIA, Mohammad Nadar Afghan, confirmed the gathering to Pajhwok. However, he said, Homayoon Jarir and Dawajan Ahmadzai had not participated in the gathering on behalf of the HIA.
He said Jarir was a presidential advisor and both might be privately invited to the gathering.
Also an official of the HPC confirmed to Pajhwok the gathering in Turkey; however, he didn’t go into details.
A source close to Taliban admitted the peace negotiations but said no one from their supreme leader Mullah Haibatullah group was participating in the gathering.
He said a Taliban member named Rahmatullah Wardak was attending the gathering. Wardak, a former Da Afghanistan Bank (DAB) employee had served as an intelligence operative in the Tailban regime. Wardak has been running a bee honey business in Dubai over the past few years.
According to the Taliban source, this was a third meeting of the kind taking placing between the Afghan government and Taliban representatives in Turkey. “But the recent (this meeting) is organized as a result of HIA leader Gulbuddin Hekmtyar’s visit to the country.”