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Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Intra-Afghan talks resume in Qatar amid Kabul escalations

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Negotiations between the two warring factions have continued to face several hurdles and delays. 

After a month-long series of delays and increasing escalations, the intra-Afghan talks have resumed in Qatar for the first time since negotiators took a break in December, Taliban spokesman Mohammad Naeem announced on Monday.

In his tweet, Naeem stated that delegations from the Afghan government and the Taliban had a “cordial” meeting in which the negotiators “emphasised the need to continue negotiations” and the importance of setting “the agenda” for the talks.

On the same day, Special Envoy of Foreign Minister of Qatar Dr Mutlaq bin Majed Al-Qahtani held two separate meetings with Pakistani officials to discuss the latest developments in the intra-Afghan talks.

Read also: Intra-Afghan talks at crossroads amid rising tensions

Islamabad’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi stressed that peace and stability in Afghanistan is in the interest of Pakistan, adding that his country believes in dialogue as the war in Kabul cannot be resolved with military action.

In another meeting with Al-Qahtani, Pakistan’s Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa discussed with the Qatari official the facilitation of the intra-Afghan talks.

Pakistan played a significant role in mediating the Afghan talks, as well as those between the US and the Taliban, the most prominent of which was the 2+2+1 or the Murree Peace Process.

The talks and the Biden administration

Talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban were set to resume in Qatar in early January, but sources claimed Kabul has been stalling the resumption to await the the new US President Joe Biden’s administration.

Reports said the warring factions preferred to delay the negotiations until the inauguration to ensure Biden administration remains committed to former-US President Donald Trump’s commitment to pull out the troops. 

The Biden administration is said to be reviewing the February agreement, signed with the Taliban last year, in efforts to end the almost two-decades-long war.

Earlier this month, the Taliban sent an open letter calling on the US to adhere to its part of the deal by fully withdrawing its troops, as well as NATO’s.

But as Taliban attacks continue across the war-torn country, the US appears to be hesitant  to withdraw.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has also called on Biden’s administration to slow down the withdrawal of its troops, accusing the Taliban of failing to commit to its obligations.

“Historic” talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban were launched in Doha in September.


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