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Intra-Afghan Peace summit to convene on April 24, Turkish Foreign Ministry says

The announcement came amid reports that the Biden administration is preparing to declare that US troops would withdraw from Afghanistan on September 11.

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The Turkish Foreign Ministry issued a statement, announcing that the long-awaited summit for the Afghan peace process would be held between April 24 – May 4 in Istanbul. The summit will be jointly convened by Turkey, Qatar, and the United Nations, the statement said. Also, it was reported that more than 20 countries had been invited to the summit, including Iran and Afghanistan’s other neighbors.

The ultimate aim of the conference is to accelerate the ongoing intra-Afghan negotiations and to achieve a political settlement in the country, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Despite the fact that Turkish authorities announced that the representatives from the Afghan government and the Taliban group would attend the summit, the Taliban stated that the dates had not been confirmed yet. The Taliban spokesperson Mohammad Naeem said that “Our internal discussions regarding this have not been completed yet; the date can’t be specified until our discussions are completed.”

On Monday, the Taliban mentioned its unwillingness to attend the negotiations in Turkey, initially determined to be held on April 16, due to its timing. Speaking upon the issue, UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric expressed that the UN hopes the Taliban would be at the summit.

Recently, the sources familiar with the issue have stated that President Biden is preparing to announce that US troops would withdraw from Afghanistan by September 11, 2021. The date also remarks the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks that caused the US military operations in Afghanistan. The deadline for the withdrawal had been originally determined as May 1. In this sense, the Taliban reaction to this latest US decision is a subject of interest.

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