Sunday Jan 14, 2018
A meeting of various Afghan Taliban factions and the Afghan government is under way in Istanbul, the Pajhwok news agency of Afghanistan reported on Friday.
The report stated that the "quadrilateral intra-Afghan peace dialogue" began in Istanbul on Saturday "to find a negotiated end to the decades-long conflict in Afghanistan".
Quoting a reliable source, the report stated that the dialogue was arranged in cooperation with the Turkish government.
Taliban’s Qatar Office members, Mullah Mohammad Rassoul splinter faction members, Afghan government officials and Hizb-e-Islami Afghanistan (HIA) members are attending the meeting, the report informed.
Rahmatullah Wardak is representing the Taliban, Mullah Rauf and Abdul Halim are representing the Rassoul group, Haji Dawajan Ahmadzai and Homayoon Jarir the HIA and Dr Basir, an envoy of Afghan High Peace Council (HPC) chief Karim Khalili, is speaking on behalf of the government.
The meeting follows as reports that the Turkish government has proposed the Taliban to open a political office in the country.
A spokesman for the HIA, Mohammad Nadar Afghan, confirmed the gathering to Pajhwok.
The report quotes a source close to Taliban admitting the talks but said "no one from their supreme leader Mullah Haibatullah group is participating in the gathering".
According to the Taliban source, this was the third meeting of its kind taking placing between the Afghan government and Taliban representatives in Turkey.