Sources told Afghanistan’s TOLO News that Taliban members on Wednesday met with former Afghan president Hamid Karzai and Abdullah Abdullah, the head of the High Council for National Reconciliation, in Kabul.
Karzai has been leading an effort for officials of the former US-backed government to discuss the transfer of power with the Taliban. Details of Wednesday’s meeting were not shared, but a Taliban official told TOLO that the results of recent discussions with Afghan leaders and international representatives on forming an “inclusive government” will be made public soon.
It was reported earlier this week that Karzai and other officials traveled to Doha. But the TOLO report said Wednesday’s talks were held in the home of Abdullah Abdullah in Kabul. Before heading the High Council for National Reconciliation, Abdullah served as Afghanistan’s CEO, a position that was created after a contested presidential election against Ashraf Ghani in 2014.
The Taliban has signaled that it is open to forming a government that includes former Afghan officials. While there has been some violence, the Taliban has issued an amnesty for former government workers, and there appears to be a general calm across the country compared to recent months. Mawlawi Khairullah Khairkhwah, a member of the Taliban’s political office in Doha, told TOLO that the Taliban does “not see anybody as our enemies anymore now.”
Ghani fled Afghanistan on Sunday and his vice president, Amrullah Saleh, has since declared himself the “legitimate caretaker” of Afghanistan. Saleh’s whereabouts is unknown, but the Afghan ambassador in Tajikistan said Panjshir province could be Saleh’s stronghold. Panjshir lies north of Kabul and has yet to be taken by the Taliban. At this point, it’s not clear if Saleh would receive any support.