Conflicts & War

Afghan peace talks in Qatar stall over regulations

Kabul, Sep 24 (efe-epa).- Nearly two week after intra-Afghan peace negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban were officially inaugurated in Doha, the talks have lagged as the two sides have failed to agree on rules to govern the discussions, official sources told EFE on Thursday.

“We have been agreed on most of the points about the working principles of the talks,” Muhammad Naeem Wardak, the new spokesperson for the Taliban’s Qatar-based political office, told EFE.

However, Wardak acknowledged that it was still “unclear” when this preliminary phase of contacts would be completed.

“The main meetings (between the two negotiation teams) will begin only when we fully reach an agreement on the rules and regulations for the talks,” said the spokesperson.

The two delegations are yet to finalize the agenda for the peace negotiations, which seek to end two decades of a bloody war in Afghanistan.

“We hope to reach an agreement in the next one or two days on rules and regulations of the main talks and then hopefully, to enter the next step to begin discussions on the agenda for the negotiations,” an Afghan official in contact with the government negotiation team told EFE on the condition of anonymity.

The official emphasized that the two sides were trying to resolve a decades-long conflict and “we should not expect everything to be completed within days.”

“We should have great patience and go ahead even if it is slow, but the progress should be steady.”

However, Faraidoon Khwazoon, the spokesperson for the High Council for Afghan Reconciliation, told EFE that “only two points remained unresolved” over the regulations, without providing the details of the disagreement between the two sides.

Intra-Afghan negotiations had kicked off in Doha on Sep. 12 after a historic peace agreement between the Taliban and the United States, in which Washington agreed to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan within 14 months.

According to the US-Taliban deal, Kabul was to release 5,000 Taliban militants from their prisons, in exchange for 1,000 government prisoners being released by the rebels.

The process was delayed for several months due to disagreements between the two sides over the pace of the release and the profile of the prisoners, in turn delaying the intra-Afghan talks. EFE-EPA


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