President Ashraf Ghani said the Afghan politicians attending the Moscow Talks have no executive authorities and are not officially representing Afghanistan. "It has been imported from the West and is an obstacle to peace", Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, who headed the Taliban delegation, told attendees at a central Moscow hotel.
He also stated that the two sides hope to achieve a durable peace in the war-ravaged country.
The U.S. has promised to withdraw half of its troops from Afghanistan by the end of April, a Taliban official said Wednesday, but the U.S. military said it has received no orders to begin packing up. USA forces in 2001 toppled the country's hardline Taliban leaders for harboring the al Qaeda militants responsible for the September 11 attacks.
The Taliban remains averse to any direct or indirect talks with the Kabul government, dismissing it as an American "puppet".
The Afghan government was not represented at both the talks in Doha and Moscow, sparking fears among many Afghans that a hasty pullout of U.S. troops would once again plunge the war-ravaged country into a brutal civil war.
He did not mention the Afghans who have died (24,000 civilians since 2009, and 45,000 members of the security forces in the last five years), let alone the nation's broader suffering in the world's deadliest conflict.
In December, a US official said Trump was planning to withdraw more than 5,000 USA troops in Afghanistan, triggering worries about whether a smaller force would be able to fulfill missions under way and stabilize the country.
Among them is potential presidential candidate Hanif Atmar, who resigned as Ghani's security adviser in August. Afghanistan's representatives, including members of the Taliban (radical movement, outlawed in Russia), will discuss at a conference in Moscow on February 5-6 the situation in the republic and try to search for a peaceful way to settle the years-long conflict.
The Taliban control almost half of Afghanistan, and are more powerful than at any time since the 2001 US-led invasion after the 9/11 terror attacks. For years the refusal of the USA to meet with Taliban officials has prevented any negotiation. Hope for peace coexists with the fear that the USA will leave as carelessly as it boosted intervention in 2017, when civilian deaths surged due to increased air strikes.
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"We clearly told them we need assurances on the future of Afghan women".
The so-called "intra-Afghan peace meeting" in Russian Federation comes days after the United States reported "significant" progress in ongoing talks with Taliban insurgents, though they also excluded the Afghan government.
Karzai and other Afghan leaders were confident that the Moscow siting will pave the way for start of an intra-Afghan dialogue.
Since being appointed in September last, Khalilzad has met with all sides in an attempt to end America's longest war in which the U.S. has lost over 2,400 soldiers in more than 17 years.
United States and Taliban delegations met in Qatar in January and are due to meet again this month.
However, a recent pledge to withdraw USA forces from Syria has alarmed allies and many current and former US officials, who are anxious that Islamic State militants remain a threat.
Earlier on Monday, the Taliban targeted a local pro-government militia in a village in northern Samangan province, killing 10 people, including a woman, said Sediq Azizi, spokesman for the provincial governor.
Deputy Chairman of Provincial Council Safiullah Amiri told Pajhwok Afghan News the militants stormed a check-post in the Telawaki area of Kunduz City before dawn.
Mawlavai Hanafi has also claimed that the assurance regarding the pullout of half of US troops has been given by the USA side and that technical groups would be formed to work regarding a schedule for the pullout of the remaining USA forces from Afghanistan.