KABUL, Afghanistan — Taliban leaders have arranged an “unofficial” meeting with Afghan government officials to take place in Turkey this weekend. Afghanis tired of a 16 year war are lauding the meeting as the first step in bringing peace to the war-torn nation.
Mohammad Ismail Qasimyar, head of international relations for Afghanistan’s High Peace Council, confirmed that the meeting was to be held in Istanbul, but noted the government participants don’t have the authority to make any final decisions as part of the talks.
This isn’t the first time the Afghan government has met with Taliban leaders, but all previous attempts at brokering a peace resolution have been unsuccessful. “We still welcome such efforts,” Qasimyar said. “We hope this will help and pave the way for a broader peace talks process, so the Afghan people’s dream of peace comes true.”
The White House administration and the State Dep’t have also increased pressure on Pakistan, who the U.S. had previously lobbied to use its influence to bring Taliban fighters to peace talks, by announcing earlier this month it would halt military aid to Islamabad.