Afghan, Pak Islamic scholars to attend Indonesia’s peace conference

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Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Indonesian Vice President Muhammad Jusuf Kalla attend a peace and security cooperation conference in Kabul, Afghanistan February 28, 2018. REUTERS/Omar Sobhani

Islamic scholars from Afghanistan and Pakistan will go to Bogor, West Java, later this month for a conference organized by the Indonesian government to find solutions to the decades-long conflict in Afghanistan.

“We hope the conference will result in a mutual agreement, or a fatwa, to bring peace in Afghanistan,” Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla said on Tuesday , as quoted by Jakartapost.

Kalla, accompanied by Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, held a meeting with members of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) to discuss preparations for the event, which is scheduled for March 15-19.

Last week, Kalla and Retno visited Kabul, where the vice president attended the second Kabul Process conference as guest of honor and reaffirmed Indonesia’s commitment to assist Afghanistan in peacebuilding efforts.

Kalla said that the situation in Afghanistan is becoming more conducive, as the Taliban have reportedly laid down their weapons and showed willingness to participate in the process of democratization.

The role of Islamic scholars, or ulema, according to the vice president, can be crucial in forging a path for sustainable peace in the war-torn country.

According to Muhyiddin Junaidi, head of MUI’s department of international relations, Indonesia was chosen to act as a peace mediator, because Afghanistan perceives it as a neutral actor, state news agency Antara reported.

“There will be 45 ulema, 15 from each country,” Muhyiddin said.

He told reporters that dates may change, as organizers consider the possibility of including ulema representing the Taliban, who are not on the guestlist yet.

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