Thursday, 24 January, 2019

Taliban cancel Afghanistan peace talks with the United States

After nearly 17 years of armed conflict the government controls around 55 per cent of the total territory of Afghanistan while the Taliban control around 11 per cent with the rest being disputed area according to the United States Special Inspector Gen Taliban, US to sit down to peace talks
Jeannette Daniel | 09 January, 2019, 16:17

The High Peace Council says Daudzai will meet other Pakistani military officials, political and religious leaders to discuss accelerating the peace process and starting a face-to-face talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

A Taliban source told Reuters that us officials had insisted that the Taliban should meet Afghan officials in Qatar and said "both sides were in disagreement over declaring a ceasefire in 2019".

"Both sides agreed for regular exchange of high-level visits for creating greater harmony and coordination on various areas of mutual interest".

A Taliban representative in Afghanistan had told Reuters early on January 8 that the talks would begin in Qatar's capital, Doha, on January 9.

India did not officially participate in any of the recently held talks with the Taliban.

Based on the document, a core bargain involving both the internal and external parties includes a declaration of a ceasefire, Taliban's complete renunciation of links with the terrorist organizations, complete, phased ending of the current U.S. and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation military mission over an 18-month transitional time period.

They said they demanded the release 25,000 prisoners and they would free 3,000 but the United States were not ready to discuss that. "The US and regional countries are only facilitating the peace process and they persuaded the Taliban to come and seal a peace deal with the Afghan government", said Faraidoon Khozon, a spokesman for Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah.

Majority-Shiite Iran has long had close ties to Shiites in neighboring Afghanistan whose militias have fought the Taliban's Sunni militants.

"I think it would be impossible to have a future Afghanistan without any role for the Taliban", Zarif, who is in New Delhi for talks with Indian leaders, told NDTV in an interview.

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"The problem is that leaders of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) wanted us to definitely meet the Afghan government delegation, which we can not afford to do now, and we have canceled the meeting in Saudi Arabia", a Taliban member had said at the time.

Another senior Taliban leader confirmed the Qatar meeting and said no other country would be involved. Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) had taken part in the last round of talks which took place in December, 2018.

Iran has offered its good offices to India to engage with the Taliban if they wish to.

The country is going through a particularly bloody period and civilians are bearing the brunt of the diplomatic impasse.

The United States sent troops to Afghanistan after the September 11, 2001, attacks on NY and Washington. The Taliban were ousted from power but quickly developed a potent insurgency, using porous borders with Pakistan for shelter.

The US still keeps around 14,000 troops there as part of a NATO-led mission aiding Afghan security forces and hunting militants.

Another Taliban source told Reuters the disagreement focused on Washington's insistence that Afghan government officials must be involved in the talks.

It suggests that the United States and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation withdraw their military missions in phases over an expected period of 18 months.

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