Afghanistan: Peace council holds inaugural session

Afghanistan: Peace council holds inaugural session:-

Calling the meeting a ‘source of hope’ for the Afghan people, President Hamid Karzai on Thursday hosted the inaugural session of a new peace council set up to guide efforts to reconcile with the Taliban and other insurgent groups.

Karzai has long called on insurgents to renounce violence, sever ties to terrorists and embrace the Afghan Constitution. Contacts are increasing between the government and insurgents to find a political resolution to the conflict, which is key to any U.S. exit strategy in Afghanistan.

‘The Afghan people in each province, district and village are expecting a lot from this peace council,’ Karzai said on the ninth anniversary of the war.

‘The high peace council is a source of hope for the Afghan people,’ he said, adding that the international community is supporting the 70-member panel.

Publicly, the Taliban have said they won’t negotiate until foreign troops leave the country, yet many Taliban leaders have reached out directly or indirectly to the highest levels of the Afghan government. There have been no formal negotiations yet between the Afghan government and the Taliban, only some contacts and signals from each side, according to Karzai’s spokesman, Waheed Omar.

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