News - Afghanistan
The Afghan High Council of Peace (HPC) on Saturday announced that a female negotiator will be included in the core structure of the government's delegation for peace negotiations with the Taliban, looking to quell anxieties that progress on Afghan women's issues could be sacrificed in the talks.
"In the next round of talks, a female negotiator will also participate," HPC member Mohammad Ismail Qasimyar said on Saturday. "However, a final decision has not been made regarding who should be the female member," he added.
Reportedly a possible ceasefire will be the number one priority on the government's agenda for the second round expected to begin next week.
"The second round of peace talks with the Taliban is likely to be held in China," a member of the government's peace delegation named Mohammad Natiqi said.
Paradoxically, while optimism around the potential for a reconciliation deal has increased in the wake of the first round of talks held in Islamabad, so to have Taliban attacks around the country. Many experts have suggested this is part of the militant group's negotiating tactics, in so far as they hope to put as much pressure on the government as possible in order to extract more concessions.
"The issue of a ceasefire was also discussed in the first round of talks," Natiqi said. "In this second round of talks, the issue of a ceasefire will be discussed with seriousness and the establishment of a ceasefire will be a part of the demands of the peace delegation."