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Turkey plans to host Afghan peace talks in April

March 12, 2021

Ankara is also set to appoint a special envoy in the peace talks. Turkey is getting involved after the United States drafted a plan for a power-sharing interim government.

Picture collage: Taliban negotiators (left), US President Joe Biden (middle) and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani (right).
Previous rounds of negotiations in Tehran, Doha and Moscow have not resolved the conflict

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has announced plans to host 

Afghanistan peace talks in Istanbul next month.

Friday's announcement came after the United States proposed a peace plan for a power-sharing interim government in Afghanistan. 

Cavusoglu said Afghan officials, the Islamist group the Taliban and the US had suggested that Turkey host the negotiation.

Turkey's role in Afghan peace talks

Talks between Afghanistan's government and the Taliban  in Qatar appear to have reached a deadlock. 

"This is not a meeting that is an alternative to the Qatar process, it is a complement to that," Turkey's state-owned Anadolu news agency quoted Cavusoglu as saying.

Cavusoglu also said Turkey planned to have a special envoy in the peace talks, adding that Ankara has called for an end to violence in Afghanistan for the negotiations to be effective.

The meeting agenda remains unclear, but Turkey has said the talks would be "goal-oriented."

Russia is also set to host a round of peace negotiations on March 18. Moscow has reportedly invited representatives from the Afghan government, the US, the Taliban, Russia, China, Pakistan and Qatar.

Role of the US in Afghan talks

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken encouraged Kabul to consider a "new, inclusive government" in a letter leaked to media outlets. 

Washington is reviewing an agreement between the Taliban and former US President Donald Trump to withdraw some 2,500 troops from Afghanistan by May.

The Taliban, who were in power until the US-led intervention in 2001, have been blamed for insurgency and violence in Afghanistan. The Islamist group also rejected the results of the 2019 presidential election.

The increase of armed conflict in Afghanistan has prompted involvement by Western forces.

German Defense Minister doesn't rule out sending more troops to Afghanistan

fb/rt (AFP, Reuters)