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Doha talks: Taliban, rivals parties agree on roadmap for peace

DOHA (Qatar): The Two-day intra-afghan dialogue has ended in Doha with both sides calling to reduce civilian casualties to “zero” amid the rising death toll in the war-torn country.

The peace talks were attended by Afghan delegates and Taliban representatives in the Qatari capital of Doha.

The so-called intra-Afghan dialogue, sponsored by Qatar and Germany, between Afghan politicians, civil society members, including women, and the Taliban is seen as a substantive step towards peace in Afghanistan.

“… Committed to respect and protect the dignity of people, their life and property and to minimise the civilian casualties to zero,” a joint statement released at the end of the talks in Doha said late on Monday.

Qari Din Mohammad Hanif, a member of the Taliban delegation, said: “We have all agreed to the fact that the civilians should not be affected, war continues, but our aim is to reduce civilian casualties to zero.”

The statement also pledged to guarantee the security of public institutions.

“Ensuring the security of public institutions, such as schools, religious madrassas, hospitals, markets, water dams and other working locations,” the statement said.

Qari Din Mohammad Hanif said the group of Afghan delegates which also included members from the Afghan government, was on the same page on civilian casualties.

“Afghan people will be protected, we have always wanted this, they are never the target,” he told Al Jazeera.

“We have all agreed to the fact that the civilians should not be affected, war continues, but our aim is to reduce civilian casualties to zero.”

The promises came a day after at least 18 people were killed and more than 180 wounded, including scores of children, in a car bomb attack claimed by the Taliban which has been running a bloody armed rebellion since it was removed from power in 2001.

The so-called intra-Afghan meetings, which follow six days of direct United States-Taliban talks, also in Doha, saw the participation of about 50 Afghan politicians and activists, including 10 female delegates.

The gathering was organised in a bid to initiate direct dialogue between the rival sides that have been at constant war with each other since the US-led invasion in the wake of September 11, 2001 attacks in the US.

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