Jakarta: While the United States and the Afghanistan government have repeatedly appealed to the Taliban for peace talks, other countries have also taken an initiative in the matter. Indonesia, a leading South-East Asian country has organised a tripartite discussion on the Afghanistan issue. The scholars and experts from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Indonesia will be participating in the discussions. But Taliban has continued with its aggressive policy by boycotting the meeting.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo had met Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani in January last year at Kabul. The issue of peace talks with Taliban had featured in the discussions during the meeting. The Indonesian President had offered to mediate in the peace talks with Taliban. In continuation of that, the tripartite meeting had been organised in the Bogor city of Indonesia.
Mainly the representatives of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), and religious heads from Afghanistan and Pakistan will be participating in this meeting and an invitation had been sent to the Taliban to participate. However, the Taliban has not only refused the invitation but has also warned the religious heads and the scholars to keep away from the meeting. Taliban has accused that this meeting is an effort to give an approval to the illegal government in Afghanistan and to the presence of the foreign aggressors on Afghanistan’s soil.
However, the ‘High Peace Council’ representing Afghanistan has dismissed the Taliban allegations. Saeed Ehsanullah, a senior functionary of the ‘High Peace Council’ from Afghanistan has clarified that the discussions among the scholars and the religious heads at the Indonesian meeting, will mainly be on the issues of ways to peace and security, and the end of terrorism. The Indonesian officials also have dismissed the Taliban accusations and have stated that they have been misinformed. Whereas, Pakistan has termed the meeting as an important opportunity.
Last month, the Taliban had announced that they are prepared for direct talks with the United States. But the United States had taken a clear stand and said that the discussions will only be between the Taliban and Afghanistan government. Subsequently, Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani had given an open invitation for talks to the Taliban. The Taliban has not only not responded to this invitation but it has also started impeding the efforts of other countries.
Senior US officials have indicated that there is no timetable fixed for talks with Taliban and there can be changes in it after due consideration of the activities going on in Afghanistan. Senior US military official in Afghanistan, General John Nicholson, had issued a suggestive warning by saying that it would be wise on the part of Taliban to accept the invitation for peace talks.