Taliban Calls Off Peace Talks In Qatar With U.S

Evarado Alatorre
Enero 10, 2019

The Taliban have rejected requests from regional powers to allow Afghan officials to take part in the talks, insisting that the U.S. is their main adversary in the 17-year war.

Daudzai was hopeful that the prospects for peace were stronger than ever before due to changes within the thinking of the Taliban, mostly due to global exposure and the impact of social media.

"I don't want to get into the past, but in the present, there is much evidence that Pakistan is playing a positive role in Afghan peace talks", said Daudzai.

"If they violate the constitution again under the pretext of peace, once more there will be bullying and victimization", said Sima Samar, chairperson of Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC).

US Special Representative on Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad is set to visit India among other countries in the region as part of the process for an intra-Afghan political settlement, the State Department has said. "The US and regional countries are only facilitating the peace process and they persuaded the Taliban to come and seal a peace deal with the Afghan government", said Faraidoon Khozon, a spokesman for Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah.

In line with these efforts, the Afghan President's special envoy Umer Daudzai is in a four-day visit in Islamabad where he has met with Pakistani officials and he will hold other meetings in the coming days we well.

The Afghan Taliban said on Tuesday they had called off peace talks with US officials in Qatar this week due to an "agenda disagreement", especially over the involvement of Afghan officials as well as a possible ceasefire and prisoner exchange.

"Peace and stability in Afghanistan was in Pakistan's own best national interest, and necessary for economic development".

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"All initiatives should be done in consultation, in conjunction, with the legitimate state of Afghanistan". "Somebody can sit in the front row and somebody can sit in the back row but they all are on the same bus with one driver".

The document says that Afghanistan's security institutions such as the Afghan Army, border police and intelligence services will operate under national commands while police would be localised in order to create space for "localized solutions". It adds that the United States may continue providing civilian assistance.

There are indications Pakistan was pushing the Taliban to enter into direct talks with the Kabul government to resolve a conflict in Afghanistan now dragging into its seventeenth year, the head of Afghanistan's High Peace Council said on Wednesday in comments that marked a break from long-time accusations Islamabad was not doing enough to advance peace in the neighboring country.

There are now about 14,000 USA soldiers in the country.

Khalilzad "will lead an interagency delegation to India, China, Afghanistan, and Pakistan from January 8 to 21", the U.S. state department said on Wednesday.

Sources said Khalilzad is likely to arrive in Pakistan early next week.

On Sunday, Reuters learned from its Taliban sources that the group requested to change the venue of the planned talks with the United States from Saudi Arabia to Qatar over Riyadh's push to include the Afghan government in the negotiations. He rejected the reports that the Taliban called off the meeting, clarifying that the U.S. side postponed the meeting and the message was conveyed to the Taliban political envoys on Wednesday. This is what we continue to tell Pakistan that Taliban is a security threat for us but an existential threat for them. "But if that leadership of the Afghan state is not recognized and is not given value, then we may face a serious challenge".

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