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Taliban, Afghan government agree on peace parley framework

Breakthrough comes months after landmark intra-Afghan peace talks began in Qatari capital

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In a breakthrough development, the Afghan government and the Taliban confirmed on Wednesday that they had agreed on the procedure for intra-Afghan talks.

Both sides announced the milestone agreement in simultaneous tweets in the Pashto, Dari, Arabic, and English languages from the venue of the talks in Doha, Qatar.

“The procedures including its preamble of the Intra-Afghan Negotiations has been finalized and from now on, the negotiations will begin on the agenda,” tweeted Mohammad Naeem, a spokesman for the Taliban’s Qatar office, as well as Nader Nadery, a member of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan’s negotiating team.

“The current negotiations of both negotiation teams show that there is willingness among Afghans to reach a sustainable peace and both sides are committed to continue their sincere efforts to reach a sustainable peace in Afghanistan,” read a joint communique.

Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani also welcomed the breakthrough. According to Ghani’s office, it was a step forward recognizing the will of the country’s people to ensure a cease-fire for lasting peace.

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The move was immediately hailed by the Afghan government’s top peace broker, Abdullah Abdullah.

“I welcome the initial major step taken in #Doha today agreeing to the procedural framework that paves the way for discussions about the peace agenda. I thank the republic’s negotiation team, all facilitators & the host #Qatar for their valuable support,” tweeted Abdullah, the head of the High Council of National Reconciliation.

This is the first major development since the launch of intra-Afghan talks between the Kabul government and the Taliban in the Qatari capital Doha on Sep. 12.

Abdullah recently visited Turkey, Pakistan, India, Iran and Uzbekistan to lobby for the peace process in the war-ridden country. Afghanistan’s western neighbor Pakistan also praised the announcement as “another significant step forward.”

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“The agreement reflects a common resolve of the parties to secure a negotiated settlement. It is an important development contributing towards a successful outcome of Intra-Afghan negotiations, which we all hope for,” read a Foreign Ministry statement.

Islamabad said it would continue to support Intra-Afghan negotiations, culminating in an “inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive” political solution paving the way for a peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan.

Anadolu with additional input by GVS News Desk

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