Kabul, Jan 5 (efe-epa).- The Afghan government negotiators on Tuesday left for Doha where they will hold the second round of peace talks with Taliban leaders after a three-week pause.
The two sides are expected to discuss a nationwide ceasefire among other topics during the parleys in Qatar to broker an end to two decades of Afghanistan war.
“Our peace negotiation team left Kabul for Doha today to start the second round of the talks with the Taliban delegation,” an official in the State Ministry for Peace told EFE, requesting anonymity.
Afghan government’s chief negotiator Masoum Stanekzai said they hoped the two sides would heed the demands of the Afghan people.
“The collective demand of the people is that the bloodshed should end forever in the country,” Stanekzai said in a video statement before leaving for Doha.
During the three-week stay in Kabul, the government negotiators held consultative meetings with officials, parliamentarians, and civil society members.
State Minister for Peace Sayed Sadat Mansoor Naderi said in a statement that the first demand of the people “is a nationwide ceasefire.”
“We will be trying for this demand of the people in Doha,” Naderi said.
Abdullah Abdullah, who heads the High Council for National Reconciliation (HCNR), in a brief statement, said the panel met with the negotiators last night and discussed the latest developments in the peace process.
“The team enjoys full support of the republic, and has the mandate to discuss the peace agenda. We are committed to achieving a lasting peace, and ask the Taliban to do so. We are looking for a successful second round,” Abdullah said.
The intra-Afghan talks began in Doha on Sep.12 last year.
During more than three months of discussions, the two sides agreed on rules and procedures for the talks.
Talks begin in Doha amid heightened violence, targeting journalists, activists, and civil society members across Afghanistan in the last two months that have over-shadowed all peace bids in the country.
The Taliban and the United States Monday accused each other of breaching the peace agreement signed between them last year in the Qatari capital, which paved the way for intra-Afghan talks.
The Taliban said the US forces in the country were carrying out airstrikes to target civilians in non-combat zones of the insurgent-controlled areas.
The military forces returned the accusation, saying the Taliban was behind the recent waves of target killings of civilians across Afghanistan. EFE-EPA