Amid ambiguity in the peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban, the High Peace Council (HPC) on Monday opened a two-day conference of religious scholars in Kabul in an effort to pave solid grounds for peace with the resurgent group.

Addressing the conference, chairman of High Peace Council, Mohammad Karim Khalili, called on religious scholars to contribute in peace and security of Afghanistan.

Participants of the conference are expected to exchange views on mechanisms of peace talks with the Taliban including efforts to promote inter-Afghan dialogue.

The conference is likely to share their recommendations for peace with High Peace Council once the consultations are wrapped up. The HPC has invited more than 700 religious scholars from across the country.

“Peace is the only solution to the ongoing uncertainties in the country. We have taken steps for launch of formal talks with the Taliban,” Khalili said.

“I also expect the Ulema (religious scholars) on both sides to work for peace and prove to the people that religious scholars can drive this country towards peace and security. It is our own duty to work for peace. We should not expect others to bring peace for us. It is the Afghans who will support us,” Khalili stated.

At the same event, head of National Ulema Council Qiyamuddin Kashaf said with the start of inter-Afghan dialogue with the Taliban, other groups will not be able to take advantage from the war in Afghanistan.

“If we initiate Afghan-led negotiations with our Afghan brothers or Muslim brothers or the Taliban, I am sure that the Almighty Allah will help us to bar others’ interference in the country’s affairs,” said head of National Ulema Council Qiamuddin Kashaf.

“We have a difficult mission as religious scholar. We have to do it honestly to advance the peace efforts,” said Qadir Alemi, a religious scholar.

“We have to address the causes of continuation of war and violence,” said religious scholar Ayaz Niazi, adding that women play a stronger role in the peace process.

Meanwhile, head of HPC secretariat called on religious scholars to explain their demands from government and the Taliban for peace.

“Vast participation of religious scholars in this event indicates that peace is the desire of everyone in the country,” he said.

“Religious scholars should provide the High Peace Council with valuable consultation on how to advance peace in the country. Without peace there is no way to step towards the salvation of the country,” said Abdul Salam Zaeef, a religious scholar and former official from Taliban regime before 2001.


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