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January 18, 2020

Afghan Taliban say talks with US have resumed

Top Story

January 18, 2020

PESHAWAR: The Afghan Taliban said Friday they had resumed the stalled peace process with the United States and top negotiators of the two warring sides met in Doha, Qatar, on Thursday to discuss the proposed peace agreement, which is likely to be signed next week.

Suhail Shaheen, the Taliban spokesman for Doha-based office in Qatar, said on Twitter early Friday that their chief negotiator and head of the political council, Mullah Abdul Ghani Biradar on Thursday held a ‘useful’ meeting with US representative for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad. He said they would continue peace talks for a few more days.

Taliban sources privy to the peace process in Doha said their representatives had been meeting with US officials, though officially the process was suspended for more than a month over some issues related to the proposed peace agreement.

They claimed that major issues which earlier impeded the peace process and posed a potential threat to the peace agreement had been resolved now.

According to the Taliban, they are most likely sign the peace accord with the United States in Doha next week. The Taliban said the US had earlier demanded them to involve the Afghan government in the peace process which their leadership had refused.

Then the US negotiating team demanded the Taliban to announce a ceasefire withthe Afghan government and its armed forces as the US and Taliban had already agreed on a ceasefire with each.

It took enough time to the Taliban to develop a consensus as there were reports that some of their top military commanders were not willing to involve the Afghan government in the peace process and stop attacks on the Afghan security forces.

It is stated to be a big outcome of the ongoing peace process in Doha that convinced some hardliners among the Taliban on a ceasefire with the Afghan government. Taliban sources said their top leaders had agreed to a 10-day ceasefire with the US and bringing a major decline in their attacks against the Afghan government and armed forces.

However, the Taliban said once the peace accord is signed, they would start acting on the ceasefire plan. During the ceasefire period, the Taliban said they assured their fighters would stop attacks including suicide bombing, IEDs, target killing, etc, across Afghanistan.

“The US and Afghan forces would ensure to stop all type of operations against us (Taliban) in Afghanistan once the ceasefire is announced,” said a senior Taliban leader. Pleading anonymity, he said Taliban may not publicly announce the ceasefire but would convey to their military commanders and make sure their fighters to act on the ceasefire plan.

And once the peace agreement is inked between the US and Taliban, Taliban said they would start the intra-Afghan dialogue. According to Taliban Germany had offered to host the intra-Afghan dialogue.