Afghanistan peace summit postponed, Taliban withdraw

The Afghanistan peace conference in Istanbul will be postponed until the end of Ramadan, as the Taliban withdraw from the conference.

Remnants of a destroyed monument in Kabul, Afghanistan. Photo by: Suliman Sallehi/Pexels

CAPE TOWN, April 21 (ANA) – Turkey has announced that a much-anticipated Afghan peace conference in Istanbul will be postponed until the end of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month.

The international conference, deemed critical for the war-torn country’s future amid rising instability, will now take place after Ramadan.

On Monday, a Taliban spokesman said that the religious militia would not attend a peace conference scheduled for later this week in Turkey, jeopardising the US attempts to put in place a peace plan soon, according to Daily Sabah.

Following Washington’s announcement that foreign forces would leave Afghanistan by September 11, the meeting was set for April 24 to expedite an agreement between Taliban insurgents and the Afghan government.

“We thought that it would be beneficial to postpone it … We consulted Qatar, the United States and the United Nations and decided to hold it after Ramadan and Eid festivities,” Mevlut Cavusoglu, Turkish Foreign Minister, told the Haberturk news channel.

“The conference would be meaningless without the Taliban joining. At the moment, we decided to postpone it since there is no clarity about the formation of the delegations and participation.”

After US President Joe Biden declared the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan by mid-September, the US-backed talks, hosted by Turkey, Qatar, and the United Nations, were called to expedite an agreement between the Afghan government and the rebel militants.

According to Al Jazeera, the Taliban had previously stated that they would not attend any Afghan peace talks until all foreign forces were removed from the country.

“I have grave doubts about the Taliban’s reliability … but we need to see what they’re going to do here,” US Marine General Kenneth McKenzie told the House Armed Services Committee.

The International Union for Muslim Scholars (IUMS) urged Afghanistan’s warring parties to cease fighting as the Muslim holy month of Ramadan approaches.

– African News Agency (ANA); Editing by Devereaux Morkel

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