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Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Qatar to continue hosting inter-Afghan peace talks

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The negotiations will resume in Doha, despite some parties wanting them to take place in Afghanistan.

Qatar will host the second round of the inter-Afghan peace talks once they resume on January 5th, 2021 as announced by Waheed Omar, a spokesperson for Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

According to a report by Turkey’s Anadolu Agency, Ghani agreed to proceed with the second round of the talks between the government and the Taliban, which were paused when the two sides decided to take a break following more than three months of negotiations.

Earlier reports suggested that the negotiations were going to be moved to Kabul at the request of President Ghani, but following advice from the government representatives at the High Council of National Reconciliation and international partners, it appears that discussions will in fact resume in Doha.

That being said, the President’s spokesperson added that “the state’s insistence that future rounds be hosted in Afghanistan remains.”

Anadolu reported that Ghani had earlier requested moving the talks to his country based on the suggestion by his National Security Adviser Hamdullah Mohib.

“Peace talks within Afghanistan will help create a credible exclusive security zone, and enable the Afghan people to own and oversee peace and negotiations. Negotiators will be better aware of the grievances and demands of their countrymen and will avoid additional costs in the process,” Muhib tweeted  had said in a series of tweets.

Read also: Afghan peace talks to resume in January

The Afghan government and the Taliban met in September to end the 19-year-long conflict between them, but faced several hurdles to reach an agreement.

It was not until December when the two sides finally agreed on the rules for the talks after reports of disagreements over the agenda, basic framework of discussions and religious interpretations.

The process in Qatar began after the US government and the Taliban signed a deal back in February that committed Washington to withdrawing its remaining 12,000 troops in exchange for Taliban security guarantees and a commitment by the group to engage in a political process.

Despite the peace talks, violence has risen, with a recent uptick in attacks on journalists, activists, as well as Afghan officials.

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