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Men wearing facemasks as a precautionary measure against the COVID-19 novel coronavirus walk past a wall painted with images of US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad (L) and Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar (R), in Kabul April 5, 2020. (Photo by WAKIL KOHSAR / AFP) (Photo by WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP via Getty Images)

Taliban ‘wasting time’ setting new condition for peace talks

Mystery and confusion shroud Afghan peace parley as Taliban ultras continue to put Afghan government on a tight spot both in the negotiations and in the battlefield

AT News

KABUL: As the Afghan government and Taliban are trying to narrow down differences over several issues of contention, the Afghan delegation has accused the Taliban of “wasting more time” after insurgents set a new condition as a prerequisite for the long-delayed negotiations.

Nader Naderi, a member of the government negotiation team, has said the Taliban are wasting time by seeking to renegotiate some of the deals of their February peace agreement with the United States. “We are not wasting time, the Taliban are,” said Naderi, adding that the insurgents continue to target security forces and civilians in an attempt to put pressure on the Afghan government. We will continue to be indefatigable in our efforts to defend our values ​​and we are ready to take part in any dialogue,” Naderi said.

This is as the Taliban have just set a new condition, postponing the start of peace talks. A senior member of Taliban team, Khairullah Khairkhah, has said peace talks should be in accordance with the Taliban’s agreement with the United States. He even warned peace talks would be useless if the Afghan government’s team did not accept the condition.

Khairkhah said the ongoing peace talks began based on the U.S.-Taliban agreement. “If they do not accept our first condition, then it is useless to discuss other issues. We must first lay the groundwork, then move on to other issues,” he said.

Another issue that has become controversial in the preliminary talks in Qatar is the Taliban delegation’s proposal to set Hanafi jurisprudence as the principle, but the Afghan team has said that Jafari jurisprudence should not be ignored.

Khairkhah, however, said this issue should be discussed when approving Afghanistan’s future constitution. He said the two sides had agreed on most issues.

This is a member of Afghan delegation says they have not had any direct meetings with the Taliban in the past three days, but internal meetings and contacts have continued. Habibah Sorabi said instead of exchanging accusations, it would be better not to have frozen discussions and to show flexibility.

“It is true that the Taliban are blaming us for leaking information to the outside, but there are very credible cases where the Taliban themselves have leaked information,” she said. Taliban negotiators earlier accused the Afghan delegation of allegedly reporting the disputes arising in the negotiations to the media.

The Taliban insist on two issues; firstly is accepting the Hanafi jurisprudence as the basis for resolving disputes, and secondly negotiations should be based on an agreement between the Taliban and the United States. But the government does not agree with the Taliban on none of the conditions.

Meanwhile, the intra-Afghan talks started two weeks ago in Doha, the capital of Qatar, but no significant results have been achieved so far despite consecutive meetings between the contact groups of the two sides.

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