Home News Why Afghanistan-Taliban peace talks haven’t reached breakthrough

Why Afghanistan-Taliban peace talks haven’t reached breakthrough


Doha, Qatar – It has been nearly per week since negotiators arrived again in Doha to renew a second spherical of peace talks between the Afghan authorities and the Taliban, with a United States workforce speaking individually to each side.

However high Afghan authorities officers and Taliban leaders have been conspicuous by their absence from this spherical of conferences.

On the Taliban facet, chief negotiator Mullah Abdul Hakim and the top of the Taliban workplace in Qatar, Mullah Baradar, haven’t but returned from their journey to Pakistan.

In latest weeks, US diplomats and army leaders have additionally visited Pakistan. In a gathering between Pakistan’s army and performing Assistant Secretary of Protection for Indo-Pacific Safety Affairs David Helvey, the 2 sides mentioned an pressing want for a discount in violence in Afghanistan.

Islamabad insists it’s “enjoying a constructive function and its management is dedicated to serving to Afghans discover a answer” via talks.

In the meantime, US particular envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and his entourage have returned to Doha after temporary stopovers in Islamabad and Kabul.

An Afghan official advised Al Jazeera “the committee members are in Qatar and others are arriving because the talks proceed”.

“We’re prepared and ready for the talks, there isn’t any delay from [us] and no new proposals have been conveyed to us,” Taliban spokesman Mohammad Naeem advised Al Jazeera.

These near the talks stated the sense of urgency from both facet to seek out widespread floor, scale back violence and transfer ahead appears to be lacking within the present spherical of negotiations.

New US administration

The explanation for a scarcity of urgency within the persevering with talks is being attributed to the change within the US administration led by President-elect Joe Biden and their coverage on Afghanistan.

Biden will inherit a state of affairs the place simply 2,500 US troopers shall be left in Afghanistan after the outgoing Trump administration ordered an accelerated withdrawal of troops.

Jake Sullivan, the Nationwide Safety Advisor-designate for Biden’s administration, lately stated the US will help diplomacy alongside the strains of the US-Taliban peace deal signed in February final 12 months to make sure “Afghanistan by no means once more turns into a secure haven for terrorists to assault the US”.

The primary spherical of talks, which kicked off in September, led to December after the 2 sides agreed on procedural guidelines.

A highway map for post-war Afghanistan, a nationwide ceasefire and disarmament of the Taliban and different armed teams had been a part of the agenda of the newest spherical of talks which opened on Tuesday.

Throughout his journey to Kabul, US particular envoy Khalilzad met Afghanistan’s nationwide safety adviser Hamdullah Mohib, overseas minister Mohammad Hanif Atmar and different leaders, however President Ashraf Ghani didn’t meet him.

Whereas scheduling points and well being issues had been cited as causes, folks near the presidency stated Khalilzad’s discussions on an interim authorities – a longstanding Taliban demand – has not gone down properly with Ghani.

Khalilzad was praised for his shuttle diplomacy throughout the signing of the US-Taliban deal, which paved the best way for intra-Afghan dialogue. However the tempo of progress has slowed, with report violence within the war-torn nation.

Members of the Afghan authorities delegation in Doha say the US diplomatic workforce led by Khalilzad has conceded an excessive amount of to the Taliban.

Sources within the Afghan presidency say the Ghani administration launched 5,000 Taliban prisoners on the insistence of the US, however there was no discount in violence.

However there was a spike in violence throughout the previous few months – together with focused killings of officers, activists and journalists – blamed by the Afghan authorities and the US on the Taliban.

Sources added {that a} additional launch of hundreds of extra prisoners in trade for a short-term ceasefire is an possibility on the desk.

A supply near the president advised Al Jazeera that if releasing prisoners brings an finish to violence and paves the best way for a permeant ceasefire, then Ghani might avail such a possibility.

Another deal that sees extra Taliban prisoners freed alongside an extension of the Ghani authorities’s tenure might probably work, in response to officers near the talks.

However, regardless of the outgoing Trump administration pushing for a ceasefire settlement earlier than it leaves workplace on January 20, there was a lukewarm response from the Taliban and the Afghan authorities.

The Taliban stated that – as per its settlement with the US – the discount of violence is incumbent on the discharge of prisoners, in addition to the removing of their names from world monetary blacklists.

Finish to violence?

Based on the US-Taliban deal, all American troopers are supposed to go away Afghanistan by April.

However extra lately, the Pentagon has hinted that the Taliban had not met pledges to cut back violence or taken concrete steps to sever hyperlinks with al-Qaeda.

The US authorities’s plan to completely withdraw its forces from Afghanistan has even confronted criticism from Republicans at residence and NATO’s secretary-general.

However the stakes are excessive if the US decides to change its plans to go away Afghanistan, with the doubtless outcome being but extra violence.

Though nearly all victims of the latest enhance in violence have been Afghans, the Taliban has insisted that it’s preventing a overseas occupation and those that assist it.

Earlier than the breakthrough talks, one Taliban chief advised Al Jazeera, “My father was a fighter, I fought in opposition to the Soviets after which the US occupation. If the occupiers fail to notice that they have to depart, my kids will battle them as properly.”

Each Taliban and authorities leaders have stated that these talks are a “distinctive, historic alternative” for Afghans to unravel their variations.

Future generations will decide them on whether or not they succeed or fail.

For now, each side are biding their time.