Hindustan Times (East UP)

Afghanista­n peace meet takes back seat amid disagreeme­nts

- Letters@hindustant­imes.com

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

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