Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai holds talks with senior Taliban leader
- The former Afghan President Hamid Karzai and chief peace envoy have been negotiating with senior leaders of the Taliban since the fall of Kabul
A Taliban commander and senior leader of the Haqqani Network militant group, Anas Haqqani, met for talks with former Afghan President Hamid Karzai, a Taliban official told Reuters on Wednesday. Karzai was accompanied by Abdullah Abdullah, the head of the Afghan National Reconciliation Council.
The Haqqani Network constitutes an important faction of the Taliban which rose to prominence after capturing capital Kabul on August 15. The network is primarily based on the border with Pakistan, and has been accused of some of the deadliest militant attacks in Afghanistan over the years.
The former Afghan President and chief peace envoy have been negotiating with senior leaders of the Taliban since the fall of Kabul. Talks are being held in the Afghan capital to expand the scope of the future Afghan government by including non-Taliban members. Senior Taliban leader Amir Khan Muttaqi has already held several rounds of talks with Kabul’s former political leadership in this regard, with the latest round of discussion being held on August 17, reported the Associated Press. Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid had said earlier that the new government will be more “inclusive”.
Sources close to the discussion told the Associated Press that “good news” regarding formation of the new government is expected within a day or two. The last round of talks mostly focused on how the Taliban-led government would deal with rights gained in the last 20 years while it was not in power.
Taliban leaders like Muttaqi, who held the position of education minister during the regime’s earlier rule, reached out to Afghan political leaders even before President Ashraf Ghani left the country on August 15. He also reached out to the warlords known to be allies of the US to hold talks on forming an inclusive new government.