Talks will resume on Jan. 5, confirms Chairman Abdullah 


KABUL: The second meeting of the High Council for National Reconciliation (HCNR) ‘s leadership committee was held on Saturday morning to confer on the ways forward in intra-Afghan peace negotiations.
HCNR Chairman Abdullah Abdullah, who chaired the meeting, confirmed that the next phase of Afghan talks would resume on January 5 and stressed that the talks’ venue should not be an obstacle.
“The people of Afghanistan are determined to support and welcome the peace process. The people of Afghanistan and we are supporting the Islamic Republic’s negotiation team, and we are looking forward to positive outcomes in the second phase.” 
While highlighting peace as a priority to the Afghan nation, Abdullah stated that the negotiating team would report to the HCNR and the body’s leadership council. 
“We are here to listen to you and support you at all levels. The leadership council meetings will take place regularly,” Abdullah said.
“You are representing the Republic of Afghanistan and its great people. You can enter into talks with the Taliban and discuss all the topics of the agenda. You should demonstrate that peace is a priority for the republic,” he added.
Meanwhile, Abdul Rab Rasul Sayyaf, former Mujahedeen leader, applauded the negotiating team for preserving its unity during the talks and stated that the Afghan government had the will for peace since it was the demand of every Afghan.
The former Afghan president Hamid Karzai also commended the republican team and said Afghans are in crucial need of peace.
First Vice President Amrullah Saleh said the war in the region was complicated, and its external dimensions were broader compared to its internal magnitudes.
He added that the peace process would be intricate if “the Taliban continue to kill elders, journalists, and civil society activists.”
In the meantime, former vice president Mohammad Yunus Qanooni referring to the recent assassinations trend, said people were being sacrificed in the war every day.
He called on the government leaders to find a solution to the crisis in the country while stressing women’s participation in the meetings of the HCNR leadership committee should be strengthened.
This was the second formal meeting of HCNR. The initial assembly was held in media presence, but this one behind closed doors.