The Afghan government is trying to coordinate efforts for finalizing the venue and timeline of the intra-Afghan talks with the Taliban, the State Ministry on Peace Affairs said. "The council will be composed of prominent political personalities and influential figures from all layers of the society which will determine the fundamental agendas of the peace talks and monitor the core aspects of the process.

"The government is trying to coordinate on the venue for the talks so that these talks are started in the near future," TOLO News quoted Najia Anwari, a spokeswoman for the State Ministry on Peace Affairs, as saying on Saturday.

The development comes as US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad embarked on a new trip to Doha, Islamabad and Kabul to seek a consensus among Afghan parties on practical next steps for intra-Afghan negotiations, said the US Department of State.

Work Is Underway on Structure of High Council for National Reconciliation

Old City Wall – Sher Darwaza, Kabul, Afghanistan
Old City Wall – Sher Darwaza, Kabul, Afghanistan Wikimedia Commons

According to State Ministry on Peace Affairs, work is also underway on the structure of the High Council for National Reconciliation and the council is expected to determine the agenda for peace talks with the Taliban. Last week, Abdullah Abdullah, head of the High Council for National Reconciliation, at a press conference in Kabul, said he remained hopeful about the current opportunity for peace, which he said has been provided due to the ceasefire.

But, so far members of the leadership and secretariat of the council have not been finalized. Abdullah said the negotiation team is a good team and is ready for talks with the Taliban. Apparently, the government's peace negotiating team is also waiting for the work of High Council for National Reconciliation to begun, said the TOLO News report.

"The (government's peace negotiating team) is fully ready to start the talks, now it depends on the opposing side to take advantage of the opportunity," said Ghulam Farooq Majroh, a member of the government's peace negotiating team. Based on the Ghani-Abdullah agreement, the High Council for National Reconciliation will lead the peace efforts.