KABUL - The Taliban could attend the second Bonn Conference on Afghanistan's future if the national reconciliation process progressed satisfactorily, the foreign minister said on Sunday. Dr. Zalmai Rassoul, addressing members of the parliamentary commission on women's affairs, linked the Taliban's participation in the December 5 event to the success of the ongoing peace drive.
On Thursday, US Ambassador Ryan Crocker said the militants would have no representation at the important gathering. "There is no question of Taliban's participation in the Afghan-led conference, to be hosted by Germany."
On June 18, President Hamid Karzai warned of staying away if Afghans were invited in groups to the event. A decade back, he recalled, several Afghan factions had taken part in the Bonn Conference. This time around, Karzai said his administration would represent the entire country.
In response to MP Rubaba Parwani's statement that there were rumours regarding the insurgents' participation in the moot, the foreign minister said: "Even if they attend, they will do so under the auspices of the Afghan government."
Fawzia Kofi, head of the parliamentary panel, said 25 percent of the participants should be women. Rassoul replied they were trying to ensure that women were given proper representation and, together with men, they highlighted the issues facing Afghanistan.