Abdullah Abdullah, head of the High Council for National Reconciliation, on Sunday called on the Taliban to shun violence and return to the negotiating table and resume talks.

The negotiations between delegations from the Afghan government and the Taliban have been stalled for the last 35 days, during which time both sides were expected to hold meetings at the working group level to finalize the agenda of the talks. 

“We also want the negotiations to begin as soon as possible and to continue seriously,” Abdullah said.  

Abdullah, who has been attending meetings with representatives from various segments of society in recent weeks, spoke with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and discussed Washington’s strategy in Afghanistan. 

The US Department of State said in a statement that Blinken and Abdullah discussed the United States’ review of its strategy in Afghanistan. 

“The Secretary thanked Abdullah for his vital work in support of the Afghan peace process, and he expressed America’s resolve to support a just and durable political settlement and permanent and comprehensive ceasefire in Afghanistan,” it said. 
“Ceasefire is the main demand of Afghans and the continuation of violence is taking lives every day,” Abdullah said.

Meanwhile, President Ashraf Ghani in a telephone conversation with families of fallen soldiers assured them that he will not allow the establishment of an interim government as part of peace efforts.

“Be sure that they (Taliban) will not see an interim government while I am alive. I am not the tree that shakes with winds,” Ghani said. 
Sources close to the Taliban said that the Taliban violence has increased due to the Biden administration’s lack of interest in the peace process of Afghanistan.

They said the group’s distance from the peace talks is due to a lack of removal of Taliban’s names from the UN blacklist, uncertainty around the fate of the Taliban prisoners and uncertainty around assessments of Washington of the Doha agreement.

The story was filed by the News Desk. The Desk can be reached at info@thecorrespondent.com.pk.


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