Hindustan Times (East UP)
Afghanistan peace meet takes back seat amid disagreements
KABUL: An upcoming international peace conference that was meant to move Afghanistan’s warring sides to a power-sharing deal and ensure an orderly US exit from the country has been postponed, its sponsors announced on Wednesday, citing a lack of prospects for meaningful progress.
The decision came several days after Taliban insurgents, who are key to peace efforts, dismissed the US-promoted conference in Istanbul as a political spectacle.
No new date was given for the conference, which was to have started on Saturday under the sponsorship of the UN, Turkey and Qatar. Turkey’s foreign minister said the conference was delayed until after the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan which ends in mid-May.
The delay underscored the difficulties the Biden administration and Nato are facing in orchestrating an orderly exit from conflict-hit Afghanistan.
Both have said they would begin withdrawing their remaining troops — a total of close to 13,000 — from the country on May 1 and complete the pull-out by September 11, no matter what.
On Sunday, the Taliban issued an English-language statement on their Al Emara site, indicating they were not ready to attend the conference. They claimed that a powerful propaganda campaign had been launched, hyping expectations that a peace deal would be reached at the end of the planned 10-day meeting.
Would this conference have a meaning without the Taliban’s presence?
Saying the postponement gives Taliban time to decide who will attend the conference