Afghan government representatives and Taliban insurgents gathered on Saturday for historic peace talks aimed at ending two decades of war that has killed tens of thousands of combatants and civilians, APA reports citing Reuters.
“The choice of your political system is yours to make,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told the two sides at the opening ceremony for the talks in the Qatari capital Doha.
The talks, which are scheduled to commence on Sunday, will require hard work and sacrifice, but through them an endurable peace is possible, Pompeo said of the 19-year war.
The head of Afghanistan’s peace council, Abdullah Abdullah, said that if the two sides join hands “and honestly work for peace, the current ongoing misery in the country will end.”
Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, foreign minister of host Qatar, said the long-warring parties “must make the decisive decision in line with the current challenges and rise above all form of division... by reaching an agreement on the basis of no victor and no vanquished.
Officials, diplomats and analysts say that although getting both sides to the negotiating table was an achievement, this does not mean the path to peace will be easy.
“The negotiations will have to tackle a range of profound questions about the kind of country Afghans want,” Deborah Lyons, the United Nations special representative for Afghanistan, told the U.N Security Council this month.