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2nd Round of Intra-Afghan Talks Facing Deadlock

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KABUL: Peace talks between the Afghan and Taliban negotiators are probably on hold at the moment as both sides hang on for the U.S. President-elect, Joe Biden’s policy towards Afghanistan, sources privy to the talks said.

Fariddon Khwazon, a spokesman for the high council for national reconciliation confirmed the postponement of the negotiations, but denied to confirm whether the negotiations were deferred because of the upcoming changes in the U.S. administration.

“Discussion on the unification of the agendas has been started, joint meetings have been held,” he said. “We are engaged in consulting and discussion of issues between the two teams, whenever progress is made in unification of agendas, the sides will officially announce it.”

A Canadian based News Agency, Reuters quoted some unnamed sources privy to the issue that the negotiations between the two sides were suspended to see if changes at the White House would make any difference in the ongoing peace process. A diplomatic source, who wished to go unnamed, confirmed the issue.

The sides wait to see whether Biden preserves the deadline of American troops withdrawal from Afghanistan or not.

The U.S. president-elect, Joe Biden is to perform the oath taking on Wednesday at the White House. 

A member of the Taliban delegation talking on condition of anonymity also confirmed the issue to Reuters, saying that they are waiting to see if Biden stuck committed to the US-Taliban deal signed on February 29th in Doha after marathon rounds of peace negotiations between the Taliban and US diplomats.

The source told Reuters that if the U.S. didn’t stay committed to its agreement of troop withdrawal, the militants would take serious actions and would reinforce more fighters in its key areas.

The second round of the intra-Afghan negotiations were resumed last week but both sides held one meeting as of now. The contact teams of the two sides held two meetings, according to Afghan officials.

A Taliban Spokesman, Zabiullah Mujahid said that four members of the group have yet to travel to Qatar from Pakistan, where the militants enjoy safe havens. Mujahid called the challenges in logistic supplement as a reason for the delay in delegation’s arrival in Doha.  

Also some members of the Afghan negotiating team are yet to fly to Doha.

With the start of the second round of the intra-Afghan negotiations, some top Afghan politicians and leaders of the political parties have circuitously supported the formation of an interim government. They believe that the militants were reluctant to forge any peace deal with the incumbent administration.

However, President Ashraf Ghani and the U.S. embassy in Kabul denied that any upcoming interim government would be formed to reintegrate the militants in the administration.

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