x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Afghan attorney general sacked after 'unsanctioned meeting with Taliban'

Senior Afghan official says Muhammad Isaaq Aloko met members of a Taliban peace negotiation team in Dubai despite being told by the presidential palace not to attend the meeting.

KABUL // The Afghan president Hamid Karzai has sacked his attorney general after the chief law officer held an unsanctioned meeting with Taliban peace negotiators in the United Arab Emirates, a senior Afghan official and a legislator said today.

The attorney general, Muhammad Isaaq Aloko, met members of a Taliban peace negotiation team in Dubai despite being told by the presidential palace not to attend the meeting, the official said.

"He was instructed not to go," said the official.

A prominent member of parliament also said Mr Aloko had been sacked.

But an official in Mr Aloko's office denied that his boss had been dismissed, saying he was at the presidential palace "celebrating Independence Day" yesterday.

Peace talks between the Karzai administration and the Taliban are seen as crucial to averting another round of war as Afghanistan's Nato-led force prepares to end its military mission by the end of next year.

Talks with the Taliban began in 2010 but they have been marked by a series of missteps, delays and allegations of plotting and interference.

The senior Afghan official said some senior cabinet members were trying to persuade Mr Karzai to reverse his decision to dismiss Mr Aloko.

The meeting in Dubai was in the first week of August and involved other prominent Afghans including members of the government's High Peace Council, which Mr Karzai set up in 2010 to pursue talks with the Taliban.

Mr Aloko had been Mr Karzai's attorney general since 2008.

The Afghan president will visit Pakistan from August 26 to 28 in an attempt to patch up ties and breath life into the stalled Afghan peace process.