Intra-Afghan Negotiations to be Held in Doha; Khalilzad in Doha, Islamabad to Discuss Intra-Afghan Talks

Tolo News
7 June 2020

Presidential spokesman Sediq Sediqqi says the Afghan government is ready to send its delegation to the talks.

Sources close to the Taliban said that based on initial agreements between the engaged sides, the intra-Afghan negotiations will be held in Doha, a development that critics say will move the peace process forward if the talks happened.

The sources did not mention the time of the negotiations but said it has been agreed to release 5,000 Taliban prisoners from the Afghan government’s custody ahead of the talks.

The Afghan government has said that, to date, 2,710 Taliban prisoners have been released. The Taliban, on the other hand, has released 458 prisoners who the group claims are government forces members, according to information shared by the group.

The Afghan government, meanwhile, has said that it is prepared to send its delegation to the intra-Afghan negotiations, something that US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, who started his new trip on June 5, will stress on his trip.

“The Afghan government has taken important steps in this process. The negotiation team of the Afghan government is ready to enter the talks and we have a strong national consensus for the peace process,” presidential spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said.

Khalilzad has traveled to Doha and will travel to Afghanistan and Pakistan, according to the US Department of State.

“There is more possibility that the talks will be held in Qatar,” said Sayed Akbar Agha, a former Taliban commander. “I think Americans are firm in their commitment on the release of 5,000 Taliban prisoners and 1,000 prisoners (of the Afghan government).”

The Taliban in a video has said that they have started an awareness campaign to their fighters in areas under their influence about the details of the peace deal with the US. But the group has not specified the location where the campaign has started.

“The enemies of God who say they will take the Taliban out of hideouts and will not give them even the legal rights, now, we have sat at one desk with them and they are accepting all conditions (from the Taliban) and are signing them,” said a Taliban commander in a video released by the group, addressing fighters of the group, and referring to the peace deal they signed with the US.

The Taliban has said that the start of the intra-Afghan negotiations is dependent on the release of their 5,000 prisoners.

“The release of prisoners has been pledged and it should not be delayed and Afghans should be released, as foreigners are not imprisoned with us,” said Musa Khan Akbarzada, former governor of Ghazni.

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Khalilzad in Doha, Islamabad to Discuss Intra-Afghan Talks

Qatar’s Special Envoy of the Foreign Minister of the State of Qatar and his delegation also participated in the meeting. 

The US peace envoy for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, and the commander of foreign troops in Afghanistan, US Gen. Scott Miller, met with the Taliban’s deputy leader Mullah Baradar in Doha on Sunday, said Suhail Shaheen, a spokesman for Taliban.

“Both sides talked about (the) speedy release of the prisoners and commencement of intra-Afghan negotiations,” said Shaheen in a tweet.

“Dr. Mutlaq Al-Qahtani, Special Envoy of the Foreign Minister of the State of Qatar and his delegation also participated in the meeting,” he added.

However, Shaheen did not provide further details of the meeting.

Khalilzad met Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa in Islamabad on Sunday and discussed the Afghan peace process among other topics, according to Pakistani news agencies.

During the meeting, Pakistan and the US agreed to continue working towards “mutually agreed goals” defined in the landmark peace deal between the US and Taliban in Doha in February.

A pledge to continue working together to bring peace to Afghanistan was made by Khalilzad and Gen. Bajwa during a meeting, according to the Inter-Services Public Relations.

“The matters of mutual interest, overall regional security situation, including Afghan refugees issue, Afghan reconciliation process and Pakistan-Afghanistan border management were discussed during the meeting between Gen Bajwa and Dr Khalilzad. Both shared steps taken in this regard and agreed to continue working towards mutually agreed goals,” the ISPR said.

Sources close to the Taliban said that based on initial agreements between the engaged sides, the intra-Afghan negotiations will be held in Doha, a development that critics say will move the peace process forward if the talks happen.

The sources did not mention the time of the negotiations but said there is an agreement to release 5,000 Taliban prisoners from the Afghan government’s custody ahead of the talks.

The Afghan government has said that, to date, 2,710 Taliban prisoners have been released. The Taliban, on the other hand, has released 458 prisoners who the group claims are government forces members, according to information shared by the group.

The Afghan government, meanwhile, has said that it is prepared to send its delegation to the intra-Afghan negotiations, something that Khalilzad, who started his new trip on June 5, will stress on his trip.

Khalilzad will also travel to Afghanistan, according to the US Department of State.

Intra-Afghan Negotiations to be Held in Doha; Khalilzad in Doha, Islamabad to Discuss Intra-Afghan Talks