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Conflicting viewpoints make bumps on road to intra-Afghan talks

AT News

KABUL: The Taliban and the government-appointed negotiating teams are trying to convince each other agree on their opinions to make an agenda for the main peace negotiations after two weeks of discussions.

Taliban negotiators are insisting in their February peace deal with the United States to be the base of the negotiations, but the government team emphasizes that a decision made by the Loya Jirga called in August, should be the center of the talks.

A Taliban official confirmed on Friday that their demand over agreeing the US peace deal was one of differences.

The government and Taliban negotiators opened the first time negotiations on September 12 in Qatar, a Persian Gulf country, where the militant group set up a political office since it was toppled by a 2001 US-led invasion of Afghanistan.

But none of them have yet managed to convince the rival side to agree on the matters as the base for the talks’ agenda.

“Negotiations are to finalize on the procedure and principles. We expect it be a good procedure as it makes the base of our job. Discussions are near to be final,” Fawzia Koofi, a member of the government negotiating team said.

But a source close to Taliban said on condition of anonymity that the group wants its peace deal with the United States should be the base of negotiations.

But a government source said that they want the Loya Jirga decision should be also the base of talks along with the Taliban-US agreement.

“Negotiations are focusing on the principles and governance system. I think the two sides have so far agreed on 18 points of difference. But the religious matter is still an issue to be discussed,” Zalmay Khalilzad, the US envoy for Afghan reconciliation.

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