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The extraordinary two-day gathering in Moscow saw Taliban leaders stand shoulder-to-shoulder with former president Hamid Karzai, who called the insurgents his "brothers" as both sides agreed to seek lasting peace.

Afghans living in Russian Federation are hosting the meeting between Afghan politicians and Taliban members who refuse to talk with President Ghani, one organizer Ghulam Mohammad Jalal told DW.

He said there was no detailed agreement with the US chief negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad who has been meeting separately with Taliban negotiators.

The militant group, which is on the offensive and already controls or contests about half of territory in Afghanistan, refuses to hold talks with the authorities in Kabul until it reaches a binding deal on the pullout of foreign troops, including 14,000 from the U.S.

"The Americans told us that from the beginning of February to the end of April, half of the troops from Afghanistan will be withdrawn", he said.

According to reports, the Taliban indicated that they want to amend the current Afghan constitution which they see as invalid and import of the West.

India's support for an "Afghan-led, Afghan-owned, and Afghan-controlled" peace process is a longstanding one even as it has been trying to engage with a range of stakeholders in Afghanistan, including the Taliban in recent times.

The nine-point statement issued on behalf of all parties also agreed on the complete withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan.

He said that "when the American forces announce the withdrawal of their troops" there could be further "intra-Afghan dialogue".

Talks have mostly focused on a US troop withdrawal and guarantees from the Taliban that Afghanistan would not again be used as a safe haven for terrorists to attack other countries, according to both Khalilzad and Taliban officials.

US-led forces in 2001 toppled the hardline Taliban for harboring the al Qaeda militants responsible for the September 11 attacks.

"The people who are in Moscow, including the Taliban and Afghan politicians, have one thing in common: they are all against Ghani", Yunus Fakur, a Kabul-based Afghan analyst, told DW.

Talks between the Taliban and senior Afghan figures - but not members of the government - are taking place in Moscow this week.

The Taliban's refusal to meet with the Afghan government is seen as a major stumbling block to lasting peace in the country, which has been at war for four decades - almost two of which involving USA and Afghan forces against the Taliban.

One effect of reduced USA leverage is a greater role for Moscow, which has worked behind the scenes to solidify influence in Afghanistan.

Mr Stanikzai told the BBC he believed the Trump administration wanted to "bring peace to Afghanistan".

If Pakistan plays a positive role in achieving a settlement to the conflict in Afghanistan, the USA will have opportunity and motive to help Islamabad fulfill that role, as peace in the region is the most important mutual priority for the United States and Pakistan, he said.

Their current chief negotiator, Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai, painted a picture of the group's current view of the role of women in society, rejected the current Afghan constitution and called for the end of USA presence in Afghanistan. "Let hundreds of such meetings be held, but these would only be paper (agreements) unless there is an agreement by the Afghan government; Afghanistan's national assembly and Afghanistan's legal institutions", he stressed.

"The sovereignty and establishment of an Islamic system conforming to our religious and Afghan values is our legal right", Stanekzai was quoted as saying, adding that the insurgent group has a position on women's right too.

The Taliban have been staging near-daily attacks, inflicting heavy casualties on the embattled Afghan army and security forces.


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