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Afghan talks shrouded in ambiguity amid Qatar pessimism

The long-running saga of floundering peace talks with Taliban is risking giving militants momentum as they continue to sweep through Afghanistan, gaining new swaths of contested territory, which sows dread as foreign troops are withdrawing

AT News

KABUL: As foreign troops are hastily withdrawing from Afghanistan, Qatar is now pessimistic about the peace negotiations between the Afghan government and the militant Taliban amid unresolved disagreements and unbridled bellicosity.

According to Sputnik, Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdul Rahman Al Thani has said the Afghan peace talks have not seen any tangible progress as ‘parties involved in the negotiations continuously accuse the mediator of being one-sided and biased.

This is as the Taliban continue to capture more districts across the country and Afghan security forces either surrendering or absconding. The long-running saga of peace talks with Taliban is risking giving the militants momentum as they continue to sweep through Afghanistan, gaining new swaths of contested territory as foreign troops are withdrawing. Fears are also mounting that Doha peace talks have been sidelined as the war continues to rage.

In a meeting on the sidelines of a conference in Turkey on Friday, Qatari foreign minister expressed pessimism about progress in the long-running peace negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban militants in Doha, saying that there is a disagreement between the negotiating sides about the way the talks are being mediated by Qatar.

But, Al Thani said that Qatar is working with countries like Turkey to achieve stability in Afghanistan and is ready to hold a meeting in Istanbul with all stakeholders and leaders to review the situation in Afghanistan.

The ambiguity increased after a meeting of Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, Chairman of High Council for National Reconciliation, was postponed with the Taliban leaders. The meeting was planned with the mediation of Pakistan and Zalmay Khalilzad, the US Special Representative for Afghanistan.

Sources say the meeting with Taliban leaders in Doha has been postponed due to disagreements between the two sides on the agenda of the meeting.

Two weeks after the return of Afghanistan’s negotiating team, a six-member delegation was scheduled, including Abdullah Abdullah, Hamid Karzai, Mohammad Younis Qanuni, Mohammad Karim Khalili, Babar Farahmand and Akram Khaplwak.

The meeting was planned at a time when some observers believe that Afghanistan’s peace efforts have been sidelined and the unprecedented escalation of war and violence in the country has left people deeply concerned.

This is as US President Joe Biden has announced that all foreign troops will soon be withdrawn from Afghanistan, an issue that will further complicate developments in Afghanistan.

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