Peace Talks Between Afghan Taliban and United States to Take Place on Wednesday

10 January, 2019, 17:39 | Author: Myra Gill
  • Peace Talks Between Afghan Taliban and US to Take Place on Wednesday

Afghan Taliban sources told Reuters that they had planned on a new round of peace talks with the begin Wednesday.

"Every country involved in Afghanistan expects the Taliban to hold direct talks with the Afghan government, but they have not agreed to meet us", the official said on condition of anonymity. The US envoy has skipped Qatar in his visit, where his was earlier scheduled to hold another round of talks with the Taliban on Jan 9-10, a Taliban source told Daily Times.

Taliban have rejected numerous requests from regional powers to allow Afghan officials to take part in the talks, insisting that the United States is their main adversary in the 17-year war and that Kabul is a "puppet" regime.

Since the U.S. appointed Zalmay Khalilzad as the special envoy for Afghanistan reconciliation and he established contact with the Taliban, a number of countries have launched parallel processes to reach out to the militants.

Abdullah said the Taliban have not changed since their austere regime was toppled by US-led forces in 2001.

Meanwhile, President Ashraf Ghani's Second Vice President, Mohammad Sarwar Danish, in a meeting with Wade Warren, the acting chief of the USAID said the draft agreement for peace which was prepared by the US-based RAND Corporation, impedes the efforts for peace by the Afghan government and its worldwide partners. "If President Trump had made such announcement in 2012, it might have caused some worries but now we have well-trained Afghan National Security Forces". The Taliban had rejected the participation of Afghan government officials in the deliberations.

"They (Taliban) say that they do not want to talk with the Afghan government, yet they have accepted committing unforgivable crimes", said Abdullah.

The Taliban have strengthened their grip over Afghanistan in the past three years and according to one USA government report, the government in Kabul controls just 56 percent of the country's territory, down from 72 percent in 2015.

Zalmay Khalilzad former US ambassador to Afghanistan Iraq and the UN Credit Reuters  Jonathan Ernst  File
Zalmay Khalilzad former US ambassador to Afghanistan Iraq and the UN Credit Reuters Jonathan Ernst File

As peace talks gained momentum a draft agreement drawn up by the influential US think tank RAND Corporation outlining the clauses for a potential peace deal was circulated among Afghan officials and diplomats in Kabul. "But if that leadership of the Afghan state is not recognized and is not given value, then we may face a serious challenge", he added.

The document, reviewed by Reuters, suggests that the USA and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation withdraw their military missions in phases over an expected period of 18 months.

The Afghan government says only Afghans are authorised to discuss a peace deal with the Taliban and decide on the future political system.

The insurgents, seeking to reimpose strict Islamic law after their 2001 ouster by US-led troops, called off a meeting with U.S. officials in Saudi Arabia this week because of Riyadh's insistence on bringing the Western-backed Afghan government to the table.

Majority-Shi'ite Iran has long had close ties to Shi'ites in neighboring Afghanistan whose militias have fought the Taliban's Sunni militants. We had contacts with the Taliban because they control some bordering areas. It has cost Washington almost a trillion dollars and killed tens of thousands of people. Pakistan denies the claim.

The insurgents, seeking to reimpose strict Islamic law after their 2001 ouster by US -led troops, called off a meeting with USA officials in Saudi Arabia this week because of Riyadh's insistence involving the Afghan government.

The United States sent troops to Afghanistan in the wake of the September 11, 2001, attacks on NY and Washington.



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