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Taliban, Afghan government resume intra-Afgan talks

Talks began last September following Doha Agreement between Taliban, US amid surging violence in Afghanistan

Shadi Khan Saif   | 15.05.2021
Taliban, Afghan government resume intra-Afgan talks

KABUL, Afghanistan 

Representatives of the Taliban and Afghan government resumed intra-Afghan negotiations in the Qatari capital, Doha, both sides confirmed on Friday. 

Delegates said in a series of tweets posted simultaneously that in addition to Eid al-Fitr greetings, marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, the sides discussed the ongoing situation in the country and emphasized speeding up peace talks.

"Abdul Salam Rahimi and Fatima Gailani represented IRoA (Islamic Republic of Afghanistan), while the other side (Taliban) was represented by many members of their negotiation team including Mullah Beradar Akhund. Both parties emphasized restart of the peace talks after eid," the Afghan government delegation tweeted.

Taliban's Qatar office spokesman Mohammed Naeem said "both sides agreed to continue the negotiations even after Eid."

Since the announcement of an exit date of September 2021 for American troops by US President Joe Biden, Afghanistan has witnessed a spike in deadly Taliban assaults that has led to mounting casualties on all sides.

Responding to the Taliban’s brief truce call for Eid, Afghan President Mohammed Ashraf Ghani said Thursday that the withdrawal of foreign troops leaves no reason left for insurgents to continue killing civilians and destroying infrastructure.

"The good thing about the democratic system is that every president eventually has to go. Our condition is elections, as soon as you want, me and my colleagues are ready not to nominate ourselves and listen to the people's voice," he said while insisting on early polls for peace.

The national flag flew at half-mast at public offices and diplomatic missions around the world Tuesday as the death toll from a bomb attack last Saturday at a girls’ school in Kabul surged to 85.

In his Eid message, insurgents leader Hibatullah Akhundzada said the Taliban considers the withdrawal of foreign forces as “a good step.”

“Unfortunately, the American side has so far violated the signed [Doha] agreement repeatedly and caused enormous human and material loss to civilians,” said Akhundzada, who has not been seen in public for years. He added that if the US failed to live up to its commitments, it should be held accountable for all consequences.

In a veiled reference to the proposed Istanbul conference for peace in Afghanistan, he said the Taliban must be taken into confidence in advance so that it assesses the proposal and makes a final decision.

“That is because we value the lofty objectives of our people for which they have presented tremendous sacrifices,” he said.

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