Negotiators in Doha Struggle to Agree on Disputed Points; No Ceasefire Until Cause of War is Discussed: Taliban Spokesman

16 September 2020

He also claimed that the Afghan government has not halted its offensive operations. 

The Taliban’s spokesman Mohammad Naeem has said that the group will not agree to a ceasefire unless the peace negotiators can discuss the main cause of the war in the country at the peace negotiating table.

He claimed that the Taliban has reduced the level of violence with the start of the preliminary round of the talks.

He also claimed that the Afghan government has not halted its offensive operations.

“It does not make sense to end 20 years of war in one hour. In our perspective, it will be logical to discuss the main aspects of the problems and the war and then finalize a ceasefire so that the problem is resolved permanently,” Mohammad Naeem told TOLOnews’ Karim Amini in Doha.

“Suppose, if we announce a ceasefire today, but then we fail to reach an agreement at the negotiating table tomorrow, do we go toward the war again? What does this mean?” he said.

He said that the Taliban wants the establishment of an Islamic system in which the values of people of the country are reflected.

“One of our objectives was to end the invasion of Afghanistan, the other one was that there is a true Islamic system that is answerable to the public and the nation,” he said.

He said that the peace negotiation talks between Afghans will have some ups and downs. But said that he was optimistic about the outcomes of the talks.

“We have entered the peace process with a strong will and determination, we want this problem finally to be resolved. The process is complicated and it has its own complexities, but we are hopeful that the problems come to an end,” added Naeem.

Five days have passed since the opening ceremony of the intra-Afghan talks between the delegation representing the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban in Doha. But the two sides so far have not managed to finalize the procedures and methods for conducting the formal negotiations.

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Discussions in Doha ‘Very Promising’: US Gen. Miller

Meanwhile, acting Minister Khalid said: “We are hopeful about a ceasefire in the coming days,” said Khalid.

Gen. Scott Miller, commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, speaking during a visit to the eastern province of Laghman, called the ongoing negotiations in Doha “very promising.”

“Discussions in Doha are very promising and important for the Afghan people, we also know the Taliban violence has to go down,” said Miller in Zabul.

Miller, who traveled with acting Defense Minister Assadullah Khalid, said that he has grave concerns about civilian casualties.

“Personally I am a little concerned about the civilian casualties…the results of bombs that civilians keep striking, and we need to bring the violence down, that is the will of the people,” he said.

Meanwhile, acting Minister Khalid said: “We are hopeful about a ceasefire in the coming days,” said Khalid.

This comes as contact groups of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban continue their discussions about the procedural structure of the talks.

A member of the delegation of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan told TOLOnews on Thursday that there is a possibility that the two sides will finalize their discussions on the procedures by Saturday.

Naming the cause of the war in Afghanistan is said to be one of the key points of contention between the negotiating teams of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban in the negotiation process.

This is the sixth day that contact groups from the two sides are continuing their debates about starting the official talks.

Fighting continues despite the talks, and at least 32 security force members, including public uprising forces, were killed and 25 others were wounded in Taliban attacks in several parts of the country on Wednesday night, local officials said on Thursday.

In Kabul, Afghan forces during an operation in Surobi district in Kabul killed Ghairatullah, also known as Mullah Sangeen, the deputy commander of the Taliban’s “Red Unit,” the Kabul Police Headquarters said on Thursday.

Another Taliban fighter named Salahuddin Sadiq was also killed.

10 Taliban were wounded in the operation, said police.

According to Kabul police, Mullah Sangeen “plotted a series of deadly terror attacks in Kabul.”

Peace talks between the Taliban and the delegation representing the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan began in Qatar on Saturday, September 12 with officials from many nations and international organizations attending or speaking virtually at the opening ceremony.

Negotiators in Doha Struggle to Agree on Disputed Points; No Ceasefire Until Cause of War is Discussed: Taliban Spokesman