Afghan govt wants to turn Taliban into 'political movement'

Pakistan shares the Kabul government's goal of transforming the Taliban insurgency into a political movement, a senior Afghan government official said.

Afghan govt wants to turn Taliban into 'political movement'

World Bulletin / News Desk

Pakistan shares the Kabul government's goal of transforming the Taliban insurgency into a political movement, a senior Afghan government official told Reuters.

"They have told us that they share the vision contained in our roadmap which is basically to transform the Taliban from a military entity into a political entity to enable them to take part in the Afghan political process and peacefully seek power like any other political entity in Afghanistan," the official said, referring to Pakistan.

"This is the vision that they share."

The official, who is closely involved in reconciliation efforts, said recent face-to-face talks between senior Taliban members and Afghan officials in France were an "enormously helpful" step in building a wider environment for peace.

The Taliban spokesman was not immediately available to comment on the discussions in France. The talks included former members of the Northern Alliance faction, which fought the Taliban for years, and Afghan peace negotiators.

The Taliban say they were represented by prominent figures in the movement such as Shahabuddin Delawar, from its political office, which is based in the Gulf Arab state of Qatar.

Until now, the Taliban and Afghan officials only made indirect contacts.

"We are very optimistic. We believe that they are genuine in this discussion with us," said the Afghan official.

The senior Afghan official said Afghanistan hoped to start formal negotiations with the Taliban next year.

"The Taliban should be able to make some form of transformation towards being a political entity soon," he said.

"The key period is 2013. If Pakistan and Afghanistan work hard enough we should be able to achieve some progress on that front."

Last Mod: 24 Aralık 2012, 17:42
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