The Doha talks will be led by Abdullah Abdullah, with ex-President Hamid Karzai among the delegates, an Afghan official said.
A high-level Afghan government delegation, which will include the head of the country’s reconciliation council, is due to meet with the Taliban in Qatar to revive a long-standing peace process, an Afghan official said, according to a news agency report. Associated Press. .
The Taliban are expected to bring their senior leaders to the table when the two sides meet, possibly on Friday, said the official, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to brief reporters on Tuesday.
The Taliban have a political office in the Qatari capital of Doha.
The new push to reach a peace agreement comes as the United States ends its military presence in Afghanistan.
Outgoing US Commander General Scott Miller recently warned that the increase in violence seriously undermines Afghanistan’s chances of finding a peaceful end to decades of war.
At the same time, Taliban fighters have taken control of large swathes of the country. Although the exact number of districts currently under Taliban control is not known, it is believed that they now rule in more than a third of Afghanistan’s 421 districts and district centers.
Several districts are strategic, bordering Iran, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.
The push also exposed the weaknesses of the Afghan national security and defense forces. Many districts fell without a fight and more than 1,000 troops fled to Tajikistan.
It has been repeatedly reported that troops were not resupplied or were left without reinforcements. They are often outnumbered by their Taliban adversaries.
The Doha talks will be led by senior government official Abdullah Abdullah, who heads Afghanistan’s reconciliation council. Former President Hamid Karzai is also expected to be among the delegates.
The negotiations aim to end the violence that has steadily increased since the United States signed a deal with the Taliban in February last year.
Karzai called on the government not to miss the opportunity and to move towards peace.
He also expressed hope that one day Afghanistan would have a woman in the presidency and urged women to stay in their jobs and continue their education.
“This country has everything, young people, educated people,” he said. “I call on the younger generation not to leave your country, stay here… You must trust your country, peace will come.”
Thousands of Afghans are trying to leave the country amid growing concern about the future.
In a further sign of concern about the future, France urged its citizens to leave Afghanistan and announced that it was organizing a special flight on Saturday to evacuate them from Kabul. There was no indication that the French embassy would be closed.
Australia has closed its embassy.
As the United States downsized its embassy staff, it said it had no plans to evacuate and announced that its visa section reopened after it was temporarily closed due to an outbreak. of COVID-19.
Also on Tuesday, an explosion rocked the capital Kabul, killing four people and injuring 11 others, police spokesman Ferdaws Faramaz said.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack. The Taliban and the government accuse each other of carrying out attacks in the capital.