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A Faltering Peace Process

Afghan officials put all the blame on the Taliban after they quit the table of talks as Afghanistan reels under daily violence even against the doctors, judges, civil society activists and the journalists   

AT News 

KABUL: The second round of peace talks between the Afghan and Taliban delegations was expected to resume on 5th of January in Doha, the capital city of Qatar, where the US signed a deal with Taliban which is now under review. 

The 2nd round of Intra-Afghan talks between the Afghan government negotiating team and the Taliban members are facing a relative deadlock at the moment, Second Vice President Sarwar Danesh said.  

Speaking in a ceremony in Kabul on Friday, Mr. Danesh termed Taliban as the main reason behind the deadlock as their political leaders are busy on “touring to foreign countries.”

The Taliban have set new preconditions for the resumption of the talks which is in no way for the benefit of the peace process, he claimed.

“Taliban have not shown any sign of honesty and seriousness since the beginning of the peace talks while the Afghan government has a strong resolve and took bold steps to pave the way for the peace process.”

This is as the Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation, Abdullah Abdullah said the Taliban have taken the toughest stance for peace that would not help the process.

Doha talks are in a temporary deadlock, Mr. Abdullah added, saying contact between the government negotiating team and the Taliban are continuing at the moment.

Abdullah said the US is reviewing the Doha peace agreement to know whether the Taliban are acting upon the commitments, outlined in the deal.

However, the new US administration made it clear to review the peace deal signed with the Taliban and President-elect Joe Biden has already called to end the endless war, but it is early whether he will stick to his predecessor Donald Trump’s schedule to pull out US troops from Afghanistan by May.

NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg said that the Taliban must honour their commitments of reducing violence and cut ties to terror groups. “Instead we see unacceptable levels of violence by the Taliban, including against doctors, judges and journalists,” he said. 

According to the agreement, signed in Doha, Qatar, on February 29, 2020, the Taliban has committed to ending violence, severing ties with Afghan terrorist groups, including al-Qaeda, and negotiate peace with the Afghan government, but Afghan officials blamed the Taliban for not keeping up their commitments by carrying out targeted killings, magnetic bomb blasts in Kabul city.

Furthermore, the sixth round of consensus-building meetings for peace in Afghanistan was held with the participation of Foreign Minister Mohammad Haneef Atmar, high-ranking government officials, ambassadors and representatives of Asian and European countries, and Afghanistan’s regional and international partners at the Storai Palace of MoFA.

At the outset, Mr. Atmar briefed the participants about the challenges of the second round of peace talks, Taliban’s regional trips and the group’s failure to live up to its commitments, the Islamic world’s solidarity in condemning war and supporting peace, and the importance of regional and international consensus for the success of the Afghan peace process.

Minister Atmar thanked Afghanistan’s regional and international partners for sharing the Government’s viewpoints and concerns on the Taliban’s non-compliance with their commitments. 

Mr. Atmar noted that reducing violence, severing ties with terrorists, advancing sincere and meaningful negotiations, and preventing the released Taliban prisoners from returning to the battlefield were four major commitments that the Taliban failed to fulfill. 

The Minister of Foreign Affairs also referred to the reports of the Security Council Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team and other credible international reports in this regard.

Mr. Mohammad Qasim Halimi, Minister of Hajj and Endowments, discussed the formation of a broad consensus in the Islamic world for ending bloodshed and realizing peace in Afghanistan. 

Minister Halimi added that Islamic countries, reputable institutions, and organizations (like OIC & MWL), well-known personalities and Muftis of the Islamic world (like Sheikh Qarzawi) have consistently disapproved of the war in Afghanistan and have reiterated that attacking schools and universities, destroying infrastructures, and killing innocent civilians were in stark violation of the principles and teachings of the holy religion of Islam.

Mr. Sayed Saadat Mansour Naderi, Minister of State for Peace, and Mr. Mustafa Mastoor, Senior Advisor to the High Council for National Reconciliation, also discussed the progress in the peace process and drew the attention of regional countries and the international community to the challenges facing the second round of peace talks.

Ambassadors and representatives of regional and international countries and organizations, while expressing their deep concern over the escalation of violence and targeted killings of civilians, reiterated their support for the continuation of peace negotiations and advancing the Afghan-led Afghan-owned peace process. 

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