KABUL: Afghanistan’s much-awaited peace talks envisaged between the government and the militant Taliban are set to be hosted by Qatar in two weeks, according to sources.
The first in a litany of negotiations between Kabul and militants will take place in Doha, both the government and Taliban have confirmed. But the venue for further direct talks is yet to be decided upon and announced. The exact date for the 1st meeting is yet to be confirmed, but sources told Afghanistan Times that it is likely to be held on 29th of June.
All efforts over the past week have been focused on determining the date and venue of the intra-Afghan talks, said Najia Anwari spokesman of the State Ministry for Peace. It has been agreed that the negotiations will be held in Qatar by June end.
National Security Council in a statement has also reflected on this, saying peace effort have been ‘improved and intensified’.
Nevertheless, the Taliban say Kabul-Taliban talks depend on. The group’s spokesman Suhail Shaheen has said intra-Afghan negotiations will be possible only after the release of 5,000 Taliban inmates.
Based on a peace deal between the Taliban and the U.S. back in February, the Afghan government has released over 1,000 Taliban prisoners and Washington has already begun withdrawing 14,000 American troops and their NATO partners; a long overdue intra-Afghan negotiation between Kabul and Taliban is also probable.
But the battlefield is fiercer than ever. Taliban have mounted their attacks against civilians and security forces even in Ramadan as the militants try to turn battlefield blows into gains in negotiations.