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Kabul and Taliban ‘stand ready’ for talks

The Afghan nation fretted and trembled through a litany of leadership schisms and governance flaws and through pangs of Taliban insurgency for years. But ramifications of the tedious peace process now seem to be unfolding.

AT News

KABUL: Afghanistan’s Chairman of High Council for National Reconciliation Dr. Abdullah Abdullah and the Taliban insurgent group have separately expressed their readiness to engage in direct peace talks.

Dr. Abdullah said the Afghan government is ready for talks and would inject dynamism and make all-out efforts to ensure a lasting peace.

Afghanistan’s peace council chairman made the remarks on Monday in an international symposium held by a German foundation and the New York University regarding international community’s support for Afghan peace process.

The Taliban leadership has also said they stand ready for direct negotiations with the Afghan government, British Newspaper Daily Mail said, quoting unnamed sources close to the militants.

The Daily Mail said the militants’ leadership has discussed the intra-Afghan-negotiations and its agenda with its top commanders.

The group has asked its members to provide their views about the intra-Afghan-negotiations, the Daily Mail added.

In a report by Reuters, the U.S. envoy for peace Zalmay Khalilzad is said to be discussing the venue and time of the intra-Afghan negotiations with Taliban’s representatives in Doha. No date has been assigned to the talks, but some sources say negotiations would be held through video conference due to the outbreak of coronavirus.

Khalilzad has discussed the venue and location of the negotiations with the Afghan officials, the sources said the intra-Afghan-negotiation would be hosted by Qatar.

Khalilzad has recently kicked an optimistic round of his peace mission. He has held talks with the Taliban’s representatives in Doha over the next steps of the Afghan peace process. “Both sides discussed the rapid release of the prisoners and commencement of intra-Afghan negotiations,” said Suhail Shaheen, a spokesman for Taliban.

Abdullah called on the Taliban to take advantage of the present opportunity and make the longest dream of the Afghans’ trued.

Despite several call of the government and international communities, the Taliban have so far denied to cease a reduction in violence and engage into direct negotiations with Kabul.

The Taliban emphasized on release of their 5,000 prisoners agreed in a peace deal signed between the US and Taliban with the absence of the Afghan government. But the Afghan government said that it has freed 3,000 Taliban inmates and that the rest of the prisoners would be conditionally released.

The US special envoy for Afghan peace, Zalmay Khalilzad has recently met the Taliban Qatar based office. After meeting with the Taliban’s representatives in Doha, Khalilzad has flown to Islamabad to discuss issue related to the Afghan peace process with the Pakistani officials.

The US Department of State in a statement said that ambassador Khalilzad departure Washington for traveling to Qatar, Pakistan and Afghanistan to obtain the next steps of the peace process.

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