AFGHANISTAN. Herat: As the first round of peace talks ends in Doha, Qatar after three months, Afghan parties have decided to travel back to their country. Meanwhile, the Taliban delegation has gone to Pakistan amid the break-in the Intra-Afghan talks. The Intra-Afghan talks had started in the month of September.
According to a statement by Pakistan foreign ministry, the visit of the Taliban delegation is part of Pakistan’s policy to reach out to key Afghan parties in the Afghan peace process to facilitate the Intra-Afghan negotiations.
“Pakistan will continue to support an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement for durable peace, stability, and prosperity in Afghanistan and the region,” it added.
Taliban spokesman Mohammad Naeem, tweeted, “A high-level delegation led by Mullah Baradar Akhund, political deputy and Head of the political office of the Taliban, left for Islamabad at the official invitation of neighboring country Pakistan. The delegation will hold talks with Imran Khan, Pakistan Prime Minister.”
After the meeting with the Taliban delegation in Islamabad, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi stated that the group has a willingness for peace. He also stated that Pakistan now wants a reduction in violence and a complete ceasefire in Afghanistan.
While some Afghans on social media and senior officials chided the Taliban for visiting Pakistan, Afghanistan’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the Taliban delegation’s visit was a planned official visit and the Afghan government had been made aware of this trip. The ministry also added that they considered it as a part of Pakistan’s efforts to aid the Afghan peace process. According to them, the current meeting was related to the recent visit of Pakistan’s prime minister, Imran Khan to Afghanistan.
Afghanistan and Pakistan discuss Intra-Afghan talks
The spokesman for President Ghani Sediq Sediqqi tweeted, “President Ghani spoke with Mr. Imran Khan, Prime Minister of Pakistan this evening. Both sides talked about the Afghan peace process and expressed their concerns over the escalation of violence in Afghanistan. The Prime Minister had said that his country will help Afghanistan to bring down the level of violence leading to a ceasefire.”
Since the start of the Intra-Afghan negotiations in Doha, on September 12, Afghans have seen just a little progress in their situation. However, the violence continues to surge in the country. As the new rounds of peace talks are set to begin on January 5, many people are hoping for a reduction in violence and an announcement for a ceasefire in the country.
Next round of peace talks
On Saturday, the Afghanistan national security advisor Hamdullah Mohib took a final on the second round of peace talks in Afghanistan. Interestingly, more Afghans have joined the call to hold the peace talks in Afghanistan. Heela Najib, daughter of the former Afghan president, Dr. Najib, tweeted, “I support the statement that talks must be in its people’s land, let all sides face Afghans.” On Tuesday, the governor of southern Kandahar province has offered to host the next round of peace talks in the province.
Meanwhile, the Taliban has expressed opposition to President Ashraf Ghani’s call to hold the next round of peace negotiations in Afghanistan, saying the request signals fear on the republic’s side.
In an interview, Taliban spokesman Mohammad Naeem told TOLOnews that “spoilers of the peace process”, are now seeing their power and personal interest in danger by making such a demand.
Naeem also added that the negotiators of both sides will resume their meetings in Doha on January 5. The Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said that holding the next round of negotiations in Afghanistan will be a “key to progress” in the peace process. Meanwhile, the peace talks had witnessed a breakthrough earlier this month after the two sides agreed on procedural rules for the talks.