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Afghanistan optimistic for Taliban peace deal

AT News

KABUL: The resurrection of US talks with the Taliban in Qatar has elicited galloping optimism within Afghanistan about a historic peace deal to restore peace and plot a road map to a post-war Afghanistan.

Afghanistan High Peace Council is convinced that a fresh trip of US special envoy for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, to resume talks with the Taliban will herald a new era marked by restoration of peace and cessation of violence.

The council’s deputy chairman Azizullah Din Mohammad has said the Taliban have agreed to reduce violence. He told Radio Azadi on Tuesday that reduction of violence will open doors for the US and the Taliban to strike a peace deal, followed by an intra-Afghan negotiation. “Taliban have a hard time declaring ceasefire, but reducing violence seems an option they would surely opt for,” he said.

Americans have been engaged in ten rounds of painstaking negotiations with the Taliban since October 2018. In the tenth round of talks, Khalilzad met with the Taliban negotiators in Qatar on Monday and pushed with a ceasefire plan before a peace deal could be struck. The Taliban have also been weighing the ceasefire option, but they are seen to be more likely inclined to curb violence.

Khalilzad has reportedly met with the Taliban’s second in command Mullah Ghani Baradar as part of an effort to streamline talks.

“This round of U.S.-Taliban talks could potentially lead to a peace deal, which would pave the grounds for an intra-Afghan negotiation,” said a former member of the parliament, Mohammad Dawod Kalakani.

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