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Ambiguity surrounds Baradar’s nonparticipation in Qatar talks

AT News Report

KABUL: Taliban’s new political chief and head of Qatar Political Office, Mullah Baradar, will miss next round of peace talks with the US delegation in Qatar due to some reasons, including lack of traveling documents that preventing him from traveling abroad, Taliban sources told Afghanistan Times.

Baradar, who was recently appointed as Deputy Political Chief of the group and Head of the Taliban’s Qatar Political Office was earlier expected to lead the next rounds of negotiations with the US side in Qatar, according to several sources close to Taliban.

“Mullah Baradar will go to Political Office in Qatar in an appropriate time, and he is right now closely monitoring his work as well” Taliban Spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid said.

Mujahid said Baradar has authorized and appointed a 14-member negotiating team, led by Sher Muhammad Abbas Stanekzai, former chief negotiator of the group, who will continue the talks with US delegation on 25 of this month in Qatar.

Mujahid did not disclose current location of Baradar who is believed to be still in Pakistan.

But some Taliban sources on the condition of anonymity confirmed Baradar was facing problem in traveling to Qatar as he was yet to receive his traveling documents, while other sources said there was differences among Taliban leadership about his role in the ongoing peace talks.

The group’s spokesman rejected the claims and said Baradar was not facing any proclaiming to travel to Qatar. 

Baradar, the co-founder of the group the Taliban movement and close aid to the group’s supreme leader, Mullah Omar, was detained and jailed in Pakistan in 2010 and was released in October 2018, as part of the efforts to accelerate the ongoing peace process between the Taliban and United States.

Baradar was appointed as Political Deputy to the group’s leader, Mullah Hibatullah, and as chief of Qatar office in January to replace Mullah Sher Muhammad Stanekzai, who was leading the Taliban Qatar office since 2015.

Taliban and US so far held several round of talks and made significant progress on vital issues in the past four months and the two sides are expected to meet again on 25 February in Qatar for continuation of the negotiation.

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