Taliban, Afghan politicians agree war not a solution, call for cordial atmosphere for talks
Tehran: Taliban and Afghan politicians have agreed that war is not a solution to the Afghan problem and there is a need to establish a mechanism for the transition from war to lasting peace.
This was agreed upon on Wednesday during a meeting between Taliban and Afghan politicians in Iran where a joint declaration with six articles was signed, ToloNews reported.
The sides also agreed to hold talks in a "cordial atmosphere" on "issues that need further consultation and clarity, such as establishing a mechanism for the transition from war to lasting peace, and the agreed Islamic system and how to achieve it," the declaration said.
The two sides decried attacks targeting "people's homes, schools, mosques, and hospitals, causing civilian casualties" and strongly condemned the destruction of public facilities and called for the perpetrators to be punished, it said.
The two-day meeting began with an opening speech by Javad Zarif, Iran's foreign minister.
"Honored to be the host of cordial and substantive dialogue between senior Afghan reps. As foreign forces leave Afghanistan, no impediment remains for Afghans of all political stripes to chart a peaceful and prosperous future for the next generation. Iran stands with our Afghan brethren," he tweeted.
The Taliban delegation was led by the group's negotiator, Shir Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai.
The group of Afghan politicians, led by former vice president Younus Qanooni, travelled to Tehran from Kabul.
Other officials from Kabul included Karim Khurram, former chief of staff to former president Hamid Karzai, Ershad Ahmadi, a close aide of former president Karzai, President Ashraf Ghani's adviser Salaam Rahimi, Zahir Wahdat of Hezb-e-Wahdat party, and Mohammadullah Batash from Junbish party.
The violence has escalated in Afghanistan as foreign forces are withdrawing from the war-torn country.
There is a fear of full-blown civil war as the Taliban stepped forward and took control of several districts in the country's north, while Afghan forces are retaliating and launching a counter-offensive against the Taliban.
Hundreds of Afghan security personnel recently retreated across the Tajik-Afghan border in response to Taliban advances in northern Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, Qatar's Special Envoy to Afghanistan who arrived in Kabul on Tuesday met a number of senior Afghan political leaders including former president Hamid Karzai to discuss how to expedite the stalled Doha peace talks. (ANI)