Afghan talks in Switzerland fail
Monitoring ReportISLAMABAD - The Swiss
government has organised secret talks between the rival factions in
Afghanistan’s civil war, Swiss Radio International reported Thursday.
According to the radio report quoted by
IRNA, several meetings were held in Switzerland last year and at the beginning
of this year, but broke off after failing to make progress.
Andrei Motyl, a Swiss official who organized
the meetings, said the talks involved senior representatives of the ruling
Taliban movement and main opposition leader Ahmad Shah Massood.
“The participants were of various levels.
Since we always insisted on having people
very close to the leadership, we had ministers or vice-ministers from both
sides.” The foreign minister, Joseph Deiss, said last year the Afghan factions
had been invited to Switzerland to examine the working of democratic
But it is the first time officials have said
the invitation was taken up.
While in Switzerland, the rivals visited
museums, hospitals and cantonal governments together.
Motyl said the aim was “to find out if the
two sides, which have been fighting now for several years, still might have
some common denominator or interests.” However, the Afghan confidence-building
measures foundered at the beginning of this year.
The French-language daily, Le Temps, said
Massood’s side feared the talks would give the Taleban a measure of
Motyl said the two sides were unable to find
any common ground.
“We have not made big steps ahead towards
peace, and the reason is simply that both sides are so far apart.
Their positions are so incompatible that any
initiative from outside is very difficult.”