Negotiators agree to devise formal procedures for future intra-Afghan talks

The first milestone in the intra-Afghan peace talks, ongoing since September 12, has raised hopes for a comprehensive ceasefire agreement and an end to the Taliban’s offensive against civilian and military installations in the country

December 05, 2020 by Peoples Dispatch
Intra-Afghan talks
(Photo: Tolo News) 

Raising hopes for an end to the decades-long war in the country, the Afghan government and the Taliban agreed on December 2, Wednesday, to devise procedural rules for future talks during the ongoing intra-Afghan talks in Doha. This can pave the way for negotiations on a comprehensive ceasefire between both the parties.

The Taliban and the Afghan government delegations are meeting in Qatari capital Doha since September as a part of the intra-Afghan dialogue to end the war in the country, which began after the US-led invasion of 2001. The “contact groups” from both the sides have met five times so far. Wednesday’s decision to devise procedures for future talks is the first major achievement of the ongoing dialogue.

Nader Nadery, a member of the government’s team of negotiators, told the media that both parties have formed a working committee which will decide on the topics to be negotiated in future.

Nadery said that “the current negotiations between both teams show that there is a willingness among Afghans to reach sustainable peace and both sides are committed to continuing their sincere efforts to reach a sustainable peace in Afghanistan,” Tolo News reported.

Welcoming the development, chairman of the Reconciliation Council Abdullah Abdullah said that this is an “initial major step”, and thanked all the participants and host Qatar.  

The intra-Afghan talks were preceded by a peace deal between the Taliban and the US, which was finalized in February. According to the peace deal, the US forces will withdraw from Afghanistan on the basis of the progress of the intra-Afghan talks. After much delay, the talks finally began on September 12.

However, despite the ongoing talks, the Taliban has kept up its offensive against the government forces and civilians, killing hundreds of people. As per Afghanistan’s interior ministry, in past one month, at least 134 civilians were killed and more than 340 injured in 16 suicide attacks and 168 IED-based explosions carried out by Taliban.

The possibility of a comprehensive ceasefire has led to the hope for an end to these attacks and resumption of talks on the more complex political aspects.     

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