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Friday, September 24, 2021

Qatar welcomes Afghan-Taliban progress after months of stalled peace talks

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This would be the first time the two sides reach an agreement since September.

The Afghanistan-Taliban peace negotiations are ready to advance to the next stage, Qatar’s Ministry of Affairs (MOFA) announced on Wednesday, praising the move as a welcome step.

Negotiators from the two warring factions have agreed on the rules for the talks, enabling the stalled peace negotiations to finally move forward after months of escalations.

“This important progress shows that the Afghan parties are serious and able to overcome differences and deal with difficult issues. What has been achieved today raises hope that they will succeed in reaching a political settlement to this conflict that has lasted for more than forty years,” the Qatari ministry said in a statement.

Peace talks between the two parties have been ongoing in Doha since September but hurdles over the agenda, basic framework of discussions and religious interpretations have proven to be difficult to overcome.

According to Mohammad Naeem, a spokesman for the Taliban, said that negotiations on the agenda will now begin.

The recent breakthrough was welcomed by several individuals. Among them was Zalmay Khalilzad, Washington’s special envoy on the conflict, describing it as a “significant milestone”.

Khalilzad also said that the Afghanistan and the Taliban agreed on a “three-page agreement codifying rules and procedures for their negotiations on a political roadmap and a comprehensive ceasefire”.

“This agreement demonstrates that the negotiating parties can agree on tough issues,” he said.

Read also: Pompeo praises peace talks despite ongoing Afghan-Taliban disagreements

Recently, reports that surfaced on Wednesday said the Taliban pulled back from signing the peace agreements just moments before the breakthrough.

According to a Reuters report, the Taliban protested against the document’s mentioning of the “Islamic Republic of Afghanistan” in reference to the government, which it refuses to recognise.

Although the Taliban has yet to comment on recent developments, the movement said it was willing to negotiate with the opposing delegation without recognising it as a representative of the government.

Read also: Afghanistan, Taliban accept Qatar offer to mediate following escalations

Furthermore, a diplomatic source also told Reuters that there have been disagreements of the term “republic” and the Taliban referring to itself as an “Islamic Emirate”.

“The differences over the words ‘republic’ and ‘emirate’ triggered a deep suspicion between the negotiators,” added Mujahid. “The problem is complex as it leads to [implications over] the vision and aspiration of a country and how it wants to be projected and perceived.”


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