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12.9.2020 Qatar hosts historic intra-Afghan talks
 Abdullah Abdullah, chairman High Council for National Reconciliation, has
said the Afghan delegation came to Doha for talks with good intentions to
find a peaceful way to end the 40-year-long war.

The landmark intra-Afghan peace talks commenced Saturday in the Qatari
capital. "I believe that if we give hands to each other and honestly work
for peace, the current ongoing misery in the country will end," Abdullah
said.

"We come here with good intentions to find a peaceful way to end the
40-year-long war in Afghanistan and a political settlement as our people
suffered a lot," he added, underlining that "war and use of force" would
not solve the conflict.

"Today, we have strong regional and international support and we shouldn't
lose this historic opportunity. We should hear and listen to each other
with patience. I thanked the Taliban for announcing a cease-fire three
time during the Eid [holidays] and we're optimistic that we'll give good
news for the Afghan people to announce a first-phase truce.

Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, deputy head of the Taliban, said in his speech
that the Taliban "would strive during negotiations to create an enabling
environment for its Mujahid and oppressed people for a life of peace,
tranquility and stability, [Taliban] assure the international community of
maximum efforts for the successful result of the intra-Afghan talks."

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in his speech: "Each of you, I hope
you will look inside your hearts. Each of you carry a great responsibility
[...] The entire world wants you to succeed and is counting on you
succeeding."

Pompeo stressed Washington does not impose its preferred political
system of democracy on others. "The choice of your future political system
is, of course, yours to make," he said, urging negotiating sides to
protect this process and respect each other for a self-reliant
Afghanistan that is free from outside interference.

"I cannot strongly enough urge you, seize this opportunity, he added,
urging both the Taliban and the Afghan government to work to achieve a
sovereign, unified and representative state system. 

Speaking at opening of the Afghan peace negotiations in Doha, the NATO
Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the Alliance stands ready to
support these talks for success.  peace is now within grasp. The Afghan
government and representatives of the Taliban have demonstrated the will
to engage with each other, he said.

Stoltenberg mentioned NATO is adjusting troop presence in Afghanistan to
support the peace efforts.  At the same time, we remain committed to
training and funding the Afghan Security Forces to help safeguard the
Afghan people.


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