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Abdullah Annoys as Taliban Evade Talks

Afghan officials blamed Taliban for breaching their commitments under the deal agreed with the US – asking the group to stick in the talks as it provides a great platform to discuss and overcome wrangle issues   

By Farhad Naibkhel

KABUL: Senior Afghan officials on Tuesday lambasted the Taliban for their distance from the negotiating table, and asked the group to stick in the talks and honor the commitments made under the deal agreed with the US.

The Afghan government blamed the Taliban for interruptions to talks over the last three weeks, while the Afghan peace delegation in Doha remained committed to finding a negotiated settlement.

Abdullah Abdullah, head of the High Council for National Reconciliation (HCNR), on Tuesday criticized the Taliban for being absent from the talks, saying that the peace process is the only way to resolve the current dilemma of the country. “All issues must be discussed on the negotiation table.” 

Speaking at the inauguration of the Media Committee of the HCNR, Dr. Abdullah said “We have a negotiating table, which is the place for dialogue, so no need to make excuses or to raise other issues that hinder the peace process at all.”

He said that both sides have to be seated on the table of talks to resolve the disputed issues.

The talks have not been cancelled, but it has been stopped, it’s like a “pending situation” waiting for the Taliban to join the talks, Abdullah said.

He expressed hope to overcome the situation in nutshell.

Peace is the agenda of the Afghan people, not a personal, group or a tribal diagram, Abdullah added.

Unfortunately, the Taliban have left the negotiation table, but the contact groups are there in Doha for resumption of the talks, Abdullah added.

Afghan peace negotiation team is in Doha for the talks, Abdullah said, asking countries supporting the Afghan peace process to motivate the Taliban to return to the negotiation table.  

Pointing to the uptick in the violence, which takes sacrifices from innocent Afghans on a daily basis, Dr. Abdullah said “When we say that we want peace, we must prove it through practical actions such as bringing the level of violence down, so the people can feel it.”

According to him, both sides agreed during the start of the first round of negotiations in Doha that Afghanistan’s problem has no military solution, thus “we must start from a point to move toward real peace.”

He also explained that “Only formation of an interim or a caretaker government will not resolve the current problems.”

At the same time, First Vice President Amrullah Saleh in an interview with FRANCE 24, said that the Taliban had breached their commitments under the landmark deal agreed with the US last year. He also welcomed the decision of the Biden administration to review US policy on Afghanistan with “wide eyes and open ears”.

Vice President Saleh pointed out that a recent Congressionally-mandated report had advocated delaying the full withdrawal of US troops after the May 1 deadline set under last year’s US-Taliban deal. He stressed that any further troop withdrawal should be based on conditions on the ground.

Saleh said that the Taliban had breached their commitments under the deal, pointing to a spate of recent attacks and especially to intelligence showing they had not severed their ties to al Qaeda. He said the Taliban have not stopped fighting at all, adding that Taliban prisoners freed by the Afghan government as part of the US-brokered deal had in fact resumed fighting instead of going back to their homes.

Despite his strong criticism of the Taliban, Saleh said dialogue with them should still be the preferred option. Although he blamed the Taliban for interruptions to talks with the Afghan government over the last three weeks, he said his side remained committed to finding a “negotiated settlement”.

Furthermore, the Biden administration has announced it will review the peace deal that was signed by the ex-President Donald Trump administration with the Taliban.

It has been for several weeks that the Taliban delegations are absent from the talks in Doha of Qatar, instead travelled to Iran, Russian and Turkmenistan.

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