The Taliban on Wednesday mocked the Afghan government over the list of 250 delegates for the anxiously awaited intra-Afghan conference in Qatar, saying that it was not a “wedding party” for which 250 delegates had been nominated, and added that only a “limited number” of politicians from the list would be selected. The Presidential Palace in Kabul on Tuesday issued a 250-member list for the meeting with the Taliban in Qatar on April 20-21. Former president Hamid Karzai, who is one of the main characters behind the intra-Afghan talks, is out of the long list of participants. However, sources close to the former president said he was “most likely” to attend the talks. “The creators of Kabul list must realise that this is an orderly and prearranged conference in a far-away Gulf country and not an invitation to some wedding or other party at a hotel in Kabul,” the Taliban said in reaction to the Kabul list.“Only a limited number of political and national figures from this list are selected for the finalised list, and only they shall be participating,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement.The spokesman accused the Afghan government of “trying to be a spoiler with such actions”, adding that arranging and publishing such lists signified that the Kabul administration feared these conferences and progress towards peace. The Taliban also reminded the Afghan government that the hosts of the conference had explained in both written and verbal forms that no “one will be representing the Kabul administration in the conference”. “If any participant is affiliated with the Kabul administration, as was the case in the Moscow conference, they shall partake in personal capacity and express their own personal views, as no one is allowed to represent the Kabul administration,” the Taliban spokesman said.Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, however, defended the list and told several members in the list that they would represent the Afghan government and the nation in talks with the Taliban. Ghani described the intra-Afghan talks as a chance for peace and urged the participants to convey to the Taliban that there was no other option but to hold talks with the government to end the war, according to the Presidential Palace.“We have a historic opportunity to resolve our issues through debate and with deep thinking. National, Islamic, regional and international conditions are set for peace, and peace is the symbol of courage and power,” the president said.Chief Executive Dr Abdullah Abdullah, speaking on the occasion, hoped that efforts by the delegates would pave the way for direct talks between the Taliban and the government.Importance:The Qatar conference is significant as government representatives will for the first time sit face-to-face with the Taliban even if they do not represent the government, but no one can deny official status of many in the list of 250 people.The Taliban had a tough longstanding stance of not talking to the Afghan government, and first wanted to solve issues with the Americans. But now they will directly speak to the government nominees.The Taliban have been criticised for not talking to the Afghans when they started a dialogue with US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad in October.Now, the Taliban say they are talking to Afghans to create an understanding and remove their (people’s) concerns.The Afghan government was unhappy at the intra-Afghan dialogue since it was started in Moscow in February. So this moot is an opportunity for the officials to meet the Taliban political envoys.Kabul was in a fix over attending the conference when a senior Qatari official informed President Ghani of the Taliban’s willingness to accept a Qatari request to sit with Afghan government delegates. If Ghani’s administration refused to attend, it would be isolated further. Ghani was critical of the Moscow round, as it benefited Ghani’s political opponents. Important personalities like Karzai, Yunus Qanuni, Mohammad Hanif Atmar, Muhammad Mohaqiq and Omar Zakhilwal – who were among the participants of the Moscow talks – are making an anti-Ghani’s alliance in the elections. The US policy about these meetings is also not very clear. It does not publicly opposes the process, but its support is also vague.War-weary Afghans are happy at the process and have pinned high hopes to it, as the Taliban and their former foes are meeting and creating an understanding. The Taliban and their opponents had fought in the past, but are now involved in negotiations that would remove concerns about the future after the Taliban and the US reached a peace deal.