ANKARA

The Turkish foreign minister on Wednesday hosted former Afghan vice president in the capital Ankara on Wednesday.

“Had a fruitful meeting w/former Vice President of #Afghanistan Marshal Abdul Rashid Dostum. Will continue to stand by our Afghan brothers and sisters during the peace and reconciliation process,” Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Twitter.

The two discussed Turkey’s leading role in international efforts to achieve peace in Afghanistan, the Turkish diplomatic sources said.

Turkey is ready to contribute to the peace and reconciliation process between the Afghan government and the Taliban, which he sees as a historic opportunity to end the conflict that has been going on for more than 40 years in Afghanistan, Cavusoglu said, adding his country is also ready to host a next round of peace talks which are expected to be held in Doha first.

Turkey’s top diplomat emphasized that it was welcomed that the Afghan government released 5,000 Taliban prisoners as a confidence-building measure before the peace talks in terms of preparing the ground for intra-Afghan negotiations.

Following a recommendation by a traditional Afghan council, President Ashraf Ghani pledged on Sunday to release the remaining 400 Taliban prisoners to pave the way for peace talks aimed at ending the nearly two-decade-long war.

The prisoner exchange — the release of 5,000 Taliban prisoners in return of 1,000 captive security forces — was agreed in a landmark deal between Washington and the Taliban in February.

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