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The women leading efforts for female rights at talks with Taliban

The women leading efforts for female rights at talks with Taliban”

Media representatives were only allowed to briefly take pictures at the start of the intra-Afghan dialogue and was asked to leave before the opening statements, in Doha, Qatar, July 7, 2019. "I think we have done our best and they are so far very positive, very constructive; there have been a lot of concessions on all sides, to reach this stage".

Sponsored by Qatar and Germany, the two-day talks in Doha are attended by Taliban representatives and about 50 Afghan politicians and activists, including 10 female delegates.

Nearly 50 delegates from Afghanistan and 17 representatives of the Taliban have attended a two-day intra-Afghan dialogue conference in Doha, co-hosted by Germany and Qatar, which kicked off on Sunday.

Ghani's administration, which the Taliban consider a puppet regime, has also been excluded from the direct US-Taliban talks.

Speaking anonymously because of the sensitivity of the talks, the USA negotiator was responding to a timeframe Taliban official told the AP months earlier.

"It is unfathomable to endanger children in this way and I strongly condemn this attack", US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, said in a tweet.

President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani termed the attack "a crime against humanity" and said Taliban by perpetrating such acts, once again revealed their clear hostility against the people of Afghanistan.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he hopes for a peace agreement before September 1. "While they are holding talks in Qatar, every day in Afghanistan they are shedding more blood of innocent civilians", Ghani said.

"Together with Qatar, we have taken the initiative for this dialogue because we want to do our bit in paving the way for peace in Afghanistan", he said.

Wardak added that Stanekzai spoke about the Taliban's position on "women's role, economic development, (and) the role of minorities".

The Taliban is also inspiring confidence as they talk about power-sharing with the existing US-backed Afghan government, saying they don't insist on a monopoly on power, but they want to have some of the power.

An agreement with the Taliban is expected to have two main pillars - a United States withdrawal from Afghanistan and a commitment by the militants not to offer sanctuary to extremists.

The Afghan meeting comes as the USA special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, who's already holding talks with the Taliban, is nearing an agreement over a timeframe for the US and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation troop withdrawal from the country.

Afghan news agency Pajwok says the attack killed eight police members and four civilians.

"We think the gap between the USA and Taliban is narrow now".

An earlier round of intra-Afghan talks, which were to be held last April, were scuttled after the two sides could not agree on participants. The official told the Associated Press on condition of anonymity that the United States "definitely did not offer" a withdrawal as part of a peace deal. Such a deal, Kugelman added, could only be counted as a win for the Taliban, not for the U.S. or the Afghan government. Last night they sat with women and we chatted.



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