Negotiating sides’ contact groups to meet today in Doha  


KABUL: Following the landmark launch ceremony of intra-Afghan talks in the Qatari capital of Doha, contact groups among the negotiating sides have been formed to take the talks ahead.

The contact groups featuring negotiators from both the Afghan government and the Taliban are scheduled to hold their first meeting today (Monday).

They are supposed to discuss the agenda, principles, schedules and other issues related to the first-ever face-to-face peace negotiations.

Masoom Stanekzai, Fawzia Koofi, Nader Naderi, Enayatullah Baligh, Zarar Ahmad Muqbil, Mohammad Natiqi and Khalid Noor are members of the government contact group.

The Taliban contact group members include Mawlawi Abdul Kabir, Abbas Stanikzai, Noorullah Noori, Shaikh Dilawar and Shaikh Qasim.

This is while two of the 21-member government negotiating team — Ghairat Bahir of Hezb-i-Islami and Fatima Gilani – didn’t join the opening ceremony in Doha on Saturday.

Baheer has reportedly been asked by Hezb-i-Islami chief Gulbadin Hekmatyar not to join the delegation and Gilani could not make it to Qatar due to health issues.

The contact groups’ meeting was scheduled for Sunday, but it was rescheduled for Monday due to technical issues, delaying the first meeting between the two sides.