AFGHANISTAN. Kabul. The negotiation teams representing the Afghan government and the Taliban movement held two separate meetings in Doha on Sunday. The meeting was held to arrange a round of negotiations between the two parties and to nominate representatives of each delegation for the meeting. A contact committee was formed by the two parties to set an agenda for these negotiations. The first official negotiation meeting between the two parties started on Sunday.
A spokesman for the Taliban negotiating delegation, Muhammad Naim, said in a tweet, “There has been no meeting today between the negotiation delegations or the technical groups of the two parties, and when the two parties agree, that will pave the way for the meeting of the negotiation teams.”
The negotiation process between Afghanistan and the Taliban
Anonymous sources close to the negotiations had confirmed the meeting. The second day of the dialogue was limited only to the meetings of the committees. The main task was to set the dialogue agenda, define priorities, and topics. These topics will be further addressed in the different stages of the dialogue.
The Afghan government delegation had insisted on declaring a ceasefire to start negotiations between the two parties. This step was believed to be essential before jumping to the discussion of other topics. However, the Taliban movement saw it as a premature demand. They felt that it should be on the agenda of the dialogue.
Ceasefire demand on the agenda
A member of the Taliban negotiation delegation, Abdul Salam Hanafi gave an open statement on Saturday. He said that the cease-fire demand will be on the agenda of the Afghan negotiations. However, the two sides will have to sit down for dialogue in order to discuss and arrange negotiation priorities. In addition to his statement, he said that the shape of the country’s political system will remain a top priority in the negotiation deal.
The head of the Afghan Reconciliation Council, Abdullah Abdullah gave an open statement on Sunday. As per the statement, he had called for a ceasefire to suspend any aggressive actions by the Taliban, indicating the main motive of the Afghanistan government: to achieve peace and stability in the country.
Afghan Reconciliation Council demands a ceasefire “before” talks
On Sunday, the head of the negotiations committee in the Afghan government, Masum Stanekzai, held a press conference for the Afghan media. The head of the Afghan Reconciliation Council, Abdullah Abdullah was also present at the conference. Stanekzai confirmed that there will not be any joint meeting with the delegation of the Taliban. The Afghan government again reiterated their demand for a ceasefire.
Involvement of officials from different countries in the negotiation deal
The American and Qatari parties will not be directly present in these negotiations. They will leave the two Afghan delegations to agree on their agendas. According to sources, the Qatari and American mediators may intervene in between the negotiation deal. This will be done only if the need for a compromise arises on the request of the Afghan government.
Dialogues were launched on Saturday in Doha, in the presence of various foreign ministers. Senior officials from international institutions, such as NATO, the United Nations, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and the European Union were also present.