“We are urging the Taliban to do this and we hope that they (talks) will start as soon as possible to prevent the beginning of a new ‘combat season’,” said Zamir Kabulov, the Russian president’s special envoy to Afghanistan.
Kabulov was commenting on a statement by the Afghan government’s chief executive, Abdullah Abdullah, this month that Afghanistan expects to restart peace talks with the Taliban within six months, pinning hopes on factions within the Islamist militant group which might be ready to give up violence.
This comes while, the National Security Advisor Mohammad Hanif Atmar on Wednesday warned opposition groups that they should join the peace process as the doors for peace will not be open forever and that if they continue to fight the government they will face the full wrath of the military.
“Our request is that Afghan Taliban uses this opportunity. Peace doors will not remain open to the armed opposition forever and if they do not join the peace process we will ask three countries to take action against them,” said Atmar.
He said that government had approached Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the head of Hezbe-Islami Party, to join the peace process. However, the Afghanistan government does not care about the person or the Taliban faction’s identity but only in the results of talks and an end to war, he added.
“We will not go for peace with those who are not Afghans or fighting against the Afghanistan people,” Atmar said.
The comments come just a day after members of the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) agreed at the end of their 4th meeting in Kabul to hold direct talks with the Taliban and other armed opposition groups in the first week of March. Pakistan will host the talks.
Atmar also officially took delivery of 10,000 AK-47 assault rifles from Russia on Wednesday and said the move was testimony to the friendship between the two nations.
Addressing guests at the event at the Hamid Karzai International Airport, Atmar thanked Russia for its assistance – assistance he said was not only important from a military point of view but also from a political perspective.
Atmar reiterated that the Afghan government was committed to fighting terrorism. He said both Afghanistan and Russia face the same problem. Tolo News reported.