The international conference, considered necessary for the future of the war-ravaged country amid escalating violence, will now be held after Ramadan.
Turkey has said it is postponing a much-anticipated Afghan peace conference in Istanbul until the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
“We thought it would be beneficial to postpone it … We consulted with Qatar, the United States and the United Nations and decided to host it after the Ramadan and Eid festivals,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told the Haberturk news channel on Tuesday.
Cavusoglu added that “there is no need to rush” after the recent US decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan.
Eid al-Fitr’s holiday takes place after the holy month of Ramadan, ending in mid-May of this year.
The international conference, considered necessary for the future of the war-ravaged country amid escalating violence, is scheduled to be held from April 24 to May 4.
The Taliban had previously refused to attend any peace summit in Afghanistan until all foreign forces were withdrawn from Afghanistan.
“It would be meaningless without Taliban involvement. Currently, we have decided to postpone because there is no clear information about the formation of delegations and participation, ”Cavusoglu said.
“The aim is not to initiate alternative negotiations with Doha but to contribute to this process. Hosts of the meeting together in Istanbul will be Turkey, Qatar and the United Nations. “
A senior Afghan government official told Reuters news agency that the meeting in Istanbul was “not taking place on a certain day because the Taliban refused to attend”.
Reuters said the postponement was confirmed by two other sources, including an official with whom the country was involved in the planning process.
Taliban spokesman Mohammad Naeem told Reuters in a text message that the group did not have any information about the delay and that he could not say anything about future conference dates. hybrid, after the month of Ramadan.
An Afghan government spokesman declined to comment. There is no immediate revision date.
Last year, the US and the Taliban agreed that all foreign forces would withdraw from Afghanistan by May 1 – a date pushed back by US President Joe Biden last week.
State Department spokesman Ned Price did not confirm the postponement but said broader diplomatic efforts would continue. “We have always been clear, Istanbul is not a replacement for Doha,” he said.
Taliban negotiators and the Afghan government started peace talks last year in the Qatar capital, Doha, but progress has been slow and violence continues to escalate in Afghanistan.
Washington is trying to accelerate this process, including promoting summits in Turkey with the participation of more than 20 countries and global organizations.
UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric earlier said on Tuesday that he was unable to confirm whether the conference was postponed.
“The United Nations, along with the co-convenors, Qatar, Turkey, are continuing to engage with the representatives of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban to seek ways to strengthen and motivate them. Afghanistan’s internal talks, ”Dujarric told reporters.
The UN special envoy for Afghanistan, Deborah Lyons, was in Doha last week to discuss with the Afghan parties “the best way that the international community can assist them in making progress in directional negotiations. to a fair and enduring political settlement, ”said Dujarric.
“Our focus will continue to be progression in Afghanistan’s internal negotiations, which is an important part of the way forward.”
A top US general voiced “serious doubt” on Tuesday on the Taliban’s reliability as a negotiating partner for US and Afghan diplomats after US troops pulled out of America’s longest war.
The Taliban ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, when they were eliminated by US-led forces. Since then, they have waged a protracted armed uprising and still control vast territories.