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Khalilzad meets Mullah Baradar; Taliban pushes for finalizing US troops withdrawal

AT News Report

KABUL: Discussions between US peace envoy and the Taliban negotiation members started on Wednesday in Qatar with the goal of creating a durable and lasting peace in Afghanistan, where the Taliban pushed for finalizing US troops withdrawal.

In a statement Taliban said Special Representative of the US State Department and head of negotiation team Khalilzad met with the Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, where they exchanged views about key aspects for a peaceful resolution of the Afghan issue.

It is absolutely vital that the two key agenda points of the previous meeting (full withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan and preventing Afghanistan from harming others) be finalized, Mullah Baradar told US peace officials.

The statement says that it will be difficult to make progress on other issues before reaching a conclusion on the two topics.  

Sixth round of talks between US and Taliban Doha members kicked off when Afghan government which has been sidelined in peace talks, inaugurated Consultative Loya Jirga on Monday and likely ended on Thursday, to elucidate redlines and also determine framework in talks with the Taliban.

Taliban rejected participation in Jirga and termed it dramatic efforts by the government for prolonging its stay.

Moreover, a number of Afghan influential figures and politicians not only boycotted the Jirga, but said it could probably derail ongoing peace efforts.

They called lack a consensus, disunity inside the government and opposition by political leaders, tribal elders, religious scholars and civil society, as one of the reasons that the Loya Jirga was not acceptable for them.

According to them, Consultative Loya Jirga should have been held six months ago, when the US launched its efforts for peace, and it was better Jirga be convened at the successful conclusion of peace talks.

Twelve presidential electoral teams, and political parties boycotted Consultative Loya Jirga, terming it an election campaign by President Ashraf Ghani.

Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah who is part of the government, and shares equal rights, he too opposed the Jirga, saying not only him but also his electoral team would not attend the Jirga.

After Abdullah’s rejection—who has equal share in the unity government, and also one of important pillar of the government—the credibility of Jirga diminished to a big way.

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