Taliban start diplomatic outreach after US deal on Afghanistan
KABUL: The Taliban’s political chief has met with senior diplomats from countries including Russia, Indonesia and Norway, hours after signing a deal with Washington aimed at ending the Afghan war, the group said in a statement on Sunday.
Baradar met foreign ministers from Turkey, Uzbekistan and Norway in Doha along with diplomats from Russia, Indonesia and neighbouring nations, the Taliban said, a move that signaled the group’s determination to secure international legitimacy.
“The dignitaries who met Mullah Baradar expressed their commitments towards Afghanistan’s reconstruction and development… the US-Taliban agreement is historical,” said Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid.
“Baradar received congratulatory messages and thanked them (ministers and diplomats) for attending the ceremony,” he said.
Prior to the signing ceremony, the Taliban had ordered all its fighters in Afghanistan to refrain from violence against civilians, Afghan and western forces.
But western diplomats in favour of the accord said it paves way to end the vicious circle of violence and opens the door to separate, wider talks between the Taliban and other Afghan political leaders – including government figures.
During the last two years of direct negotiations with the United States the Taliban leaders opened direct channels of dialogue with Pakistan, Iran, Russia, China, Germany and Islamic nations, a move that poses a direct threat to the legitimacy of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s government.
“The fanfare around the signing ceremony proved that many countries are willing to start fresh talks with Taliban leadership… they are also working fast to secure the validation too,” said a senior US diplomat who was present at the signing ceremony in Doha. – Reuters