LONDON: The Afghan Council of Russia has taken the lead in bringing Taliban and key stakeholders of Afghanistan to discuss peace by holding the first intra-Afghan peace summit.

Dubbed the Moscow summit, it will be held on 5th and 6th of February.

According to a statement issued by Embassy of Russia in Afghanistan, the summit will be held in Presidential Hotel in Moscow.

Taliban have confirmed that it will send a delegation to Russia for the two-day meeting on Tuesday.

The summit is bringing some of the most prominent leaders from all political, regional and ethnic backgrounds to Moscow including former President Hamid Karzai, the main presidential candidate and challenger Hanif Atmar, leader of Jamiat Party, Atta Mohammad Noor, Wahday party leader Mohammad Mohaqiq, former member of Taliban Abdul Salam Zaeef, Ismail Khan, Zabihullah Mujaddedi and Zia Massoud.

Karzai’s office called the summit of “special importance”.

Atmar described it as “an important and initial step towards intra-Afghan peace talks.”

Noor added “At the meeting in Moscow, we will be prioritising our national interests and the people’s will towards peace. I will also support the peace efforts led by US and will discuss solutions to bolster the efforts underway that will serve the interests of our people.”

The appointment of Zalmay Khalilzad, an Afghan-American by President Donald Trump as the U.S. peace envoy, and the Moscow summit by Afghan Council of Russia shows the growing leadership of Afghan diaspora organisations and personalities taking charge of Afghanistan’s peace process.

Britain and Europe despite having the largest and most powerful communities of citizens of Afghan origin remain indifferent to their role to lead the peace efforts from Europe’s side. While a lot of Afghans work at lower clerk level for British government, leadership is something that has not been offered to them yet.

The Moscow summit has excluded the Afghan government, which some accuse of trying to score political points in favour of Ashraf Ghani but everyone hopes that Moscow summit will be followed up by direct meetings between government and Taliban.