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Khalilzad meets Baradar in Qatar; “Main talks begin Tuesday”

AT News Report

KABUL: Comprehensive talks between US envoy and Taliban number two member is going to be kicked off Tuesday in Doha, Qatar, where Kabul administration has already pinned high hope that this time it could pave ground for an intra-Afghan dialogue.

US Special Envoy for Afghanistan Reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad on Monday held an introductory meeting with Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, Taliban’s head of Qatar office, but the main talks will begin Tuesday.

“Just finished a working lunch with Mullah Baradar and his team. First time we’ve met. Now moving on to talks,” Khalilzad tweeted on Monday afternoon.

“Arrived in Doha to meet with a more authoritative Taliban delegation. This could be a significant moment. Appreciate Qatar for hosting and Pakistan in facilitating travel. Now the work begins in earnest,” Khalilzad tweeted before to meet Mullah Baradar.

A Taliban Spokesman also confirmed attending introductory session with US delegations, saying session will take place today (Tuesday).

Briefing newsmen on Monday, Umer Daudzai President Ashraf Ghani’s special envoy for regional affairs on consensus around peace, said High Peace Council expects that the fifth round of Doha talks between Khalilzad and Taliban negotiating team, help facilitate direct talks between Afghan officials and Taliban members.

Speaking to mediamen over Consultative Loya Jirga to be held at end of March, Daudzai said the final decision yet to be taken over extension of invitation to the Taliban group to take part in the Consultative Loya Jirga, but based on principles they are Afghans and supposed to be invited.

Furthermore, Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah said Taliban group hampering peace efforts by not entering into intra-Afghan talks. Since longtime, the Taliban group opposed to hold direct talks with Kabul administration, something has severely irked the leadership of the National Unity Government.

Officials in Kabul said there is no other alternative for Taliban, but to sit with Afghan government to reach a peace deal.

Anyways, talked continued with US envoy and this is fifth round of talks between Khalilzad and Taliban member with huge difference as this time Mullah Baradar is going to lead the talks.

Issues like pullout of US troops from Afghanistan, a prolong ceasefire, direct talks with Kabul government and a guarantee that Afghanistan soil will not used against other country, are going to be discussed between US and Taliban representatives.

However, sources within Taliban group said they would not go further into discussion unless not reaching an agreement over US drawdown from Afghanistan.

The biggest fear in the ongoing peace talks that probably loss their past hard-gained achievements and freedom, are the Afghan women who already expressed their concerns.

Women across the country said they are not supporting any peace talks that could trigger them once again in a bad situation as were during Taliban region.

Afghan women and girls were marred from going to schools, workplaces and have gone through worsted kind of situation ever in the history of Afghanistan. Women are not aware about their future in the ongoing peace talks. Habiba Sarabi, Deputy Head of the High Peace Council said women are not part of peace talks with the Taliban any formats. She said only two women were attended the Moscow peace talks. 

However, Khalilzad since his appointment in September 2018, had exerted utmost efforts to end the longest US war in Afghanistan by traveling to regional and European countries in the quest of peace, and has been making all out efforts through diplomatic channels to facilitate intra-Afghan talks to eventually end the war.

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