Maldives Conference

Create: 04/21/2010 - 10:10

KABUL (Pajhwok): Delegates, including representatives from two major insurgent groups -- the Taliban, the Hezb-i-Islami Afghanistan (HIA) -- the Karzai government,known political parties and lawmakers met in the Maldives in May 2010 to discuss peace prospects.
Organised by Humayun Jarir -- son-in-law of Gulbadin Hekmatyar, the Hezb-i-Islami chief -- the informal meeting brought together former HIA leader Khalid Farooqi, Wolesi Jirga member Abdul Sattar Khawasi, Senator Maulvi Arsalan Rahmani and several others.
Former president of the Maldives Mohammad Nasheed’s office said representatives of the Hamid Karzai government would meet many Taliban-allied individuals on the island. However, the Afghan government denied formal participation in the talks.
Similarly, HIA spokesman Haroon Zarghoon also denied the party’s participation in the discussions and said Jarir was not a member of the group. The Taliban, meanwhile, distanced themselves from the contact. Their spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the participants were not Taliban representatives, but Kabul residents.
At that time, Nasheed’s spokesman has said the security situation in Afghanistan had a direct impact the region’s stability. With this fact in mind, he argued, the government of te Maldives, was supportive of efforts to end the Afghan conflict. 
The gathering involved 10-12 people, including legislators, who conferred on ways of bringing the war to an end the possibility of holding peace parleys. Wolesi Jirga Secretary Khawasi confirmed to reporters they had attended the talks on important issues. He also hinted at a similar initiative taking place in the near future.
Khawasi explained the Afghan stakeholders had come together without any foreign pressure, a significant move toward breaking the ice. The participants agreed on setting an agenda acceptable to all sides, according to Khawasi, who added the process would continue to achieve results.
Western officials were excluded from the process.The organisorssaid Afghan problems neededhomegrown solutions. It was the second gathering of its nature in the Maldives. Earlier, government and Taliban representatives had met on the Indian Ocean islands in January 2010.