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Kabul accuses Taliban of hampering peace negotiations

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KABUL: The government accused the Taliban of making hurdles on the path of the peace negotiations and prolonging war across the country.

Rahmatullah Andar, spokesman for the National Security Council said that Ghani administration showed flexibility regarding ceasefire and other issues related to the peace process.

“The peace process is not halted, the Taliban are busy in traveling,” he said. “Those who do not agree on ceasefire and insist on continuation of war and pose hurdles in the intra-Afghan negotiations the responsibility for the current misery lies on them,” Andar said.

Taliban’s representatives visited Moscow and Tehran last week to discuss the peace process with the Russian and Iranian officials. Mohammad Naeem, Taliban spokesman in Qatar, where the group maintains a political office, said that deputy leader of the militants, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar met Javad Zarif, Iranian foreign minister, discussing the current situations in the country, peace negotiations and the fulfillment of the US-Taliban peace deal signed last February.

Zarif was quoted as saying by Iranian media that Tehran supports the formation of an “inclusive government” in Afghanistan. Following the visit of the group’s members to Moscow, the foreign ministry of the Russian Federation in a statement urged the formation of a “national government” which is formed as a result of the peace negotiations.  

In reaction to the insurgents’ visits to these two countries, the Presidential Palace (ARG) said that Taliban didn’t represent the people of Afghanistan. “Taliban represents a small group,” said, Dawa Khan Menapal, a spokesman for President Ashraf Ghani. “The Taliban in nowhere by no mean represent Afghanistan and Afghans. They neither hold legislative authority nor political legitimacy.”

The Afghan officials called on the group to focus on the intra-Afghan negotiations instead of traveling to foreign countries. “All possible options will be used and efforts will be paid to resume the negotiations with essential acceleration, which will conclude tangible consequences for peace in Afghanistan,” said, Najia Anwari, a spokesman for the state ministry in peace affairs.

But a Taliban spokesman, Zabiullah Mujahid said that the negotiations had been continuing between the two sides. “We didn’t stop the process; but, if a pause occurs for a short time consultations, it is due to the needs of the process that will further strengthen the peace negotiations.

A member of the Afghan negotiating team, Rasul Talib said that if the Taliban didn’t return to Doha for peace negotiations, the government would summon its delegation from Doha. The second round of the intra-Afghan negotiations were kicked off on 5th of January but both sides yet to reach any progress.

In his visit to Moscow, Mohammad Abbas Stanakzai, a member of the Taliban negotiating team accused the Kabul administration of making hurdles on the path of peace process. 

But earlier, some sources privy to the issue said that both Taliban and Afghan government waited for the US new administration to announce its policy regarding Afghanistan.

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