ISTANBUL: Turkey said Tuesday it will host an international peace conference on Afghanistan from April 24 to May 4, in a bid to jump-start faltering negotiations between the Taliban and Afghan government.
The Istanbul meeting will come as the new US administration of President Joe Biden assesses its ability to meet his predecessor Donald Trump’s commitment to withdraw all foreign troops from the war-torn country by May 1.
However, the Taliban when contacted said the group had still not completed internal consultations over whether to attend the conference.
The US is trying to add urgency to long-stalled peace talks that could finally see it end a military involvement in Afghanistan that began in response to the 2001 terror attacks on Washington and New York.
“The overriding objective of the Istanbul Conference on the Afghanistan Peace Process is to accelerate and complement the ongoing intra-Afghan negotiations in Doha on the achievement of a just and durable political settlement,” the Turkish foreign ministry said in a statement.
“The conference will focus on helping the negotiating parties reach a set of shared, foundational principles that reflect an agreed vision for a future Afghanistan, a roadmap to a future political settlement and an end to the conflict.”
The conference is being co-sponsored by the United Nations and Qatar.