Amid allegations and counter-allegations, peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban resumed after a long delay on Tuesday in Doha, the capital of Qatar. The Taliban claimed that the government and its Western allies did not fulfil their promise made in the deal signed with the US last February, including the release of prisoners and withdrawal of foreign forces.
A Taliban official in Doha said it was agreed that all the prisoners were to be released three months after the initiation of dialogues. But even after five months, not a single prisoner has been released, he added.
He expressed concern over the delay in the withdrawal of remaining US troops as envisaged in the deal signed by former US president Donald Trump. But the new administration of President Joe Biden has been reviewing the agreement. Biden has backed political solution to the conflict and may not pull out troops by May 1 deadline.
The Taliban official said there is an agreement between Taliban and Donald Trump and “we expect the US to abide by the deal. Taliban remains committed to the deal and expect the other side to do the same.”
Last week, the Taliban issued an “open letter” calling on Washington to pull out the troops.
On the other hand, Afghan officials rejected the Taliban’s demands saying they cannot be held responsible for agreements that were made between them and the US.
A member of the Afghan government negotiating team, however, claimed that Kabul released 5,000 Taliban prisoners, as decided by the Grand Jirga and not because of the US-Taliban deal.
But the Taliban says the Doha agreement has provisions that called for the release of all prisoners through intra-Afghan talks.
Nader Nadery, a senior adviser to President Ashraf Ghani, said that the government delegation has come with “full faith and readiness” to reach a peace deal. He urged the parties to the conflict to discuss everything that they have put forward.
Nadery urged both the parties to avoid blame-game and discuss issues that matter.
ISLAMABAD VISIT: Meanwhile, a representative of President Ashraf Ghani, Umar Daudzai, has reached Islamabad as part of diplomatic efforts to continue the peace process.
Daudzai had met with Ambassador Muhammad Sadiq, Pakistan’s special envoy on Afghanistan. He will meet Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, also.
Official sources said they discussed peace efforts as well as other bilateral issues.
In recent weeks, US Centcom chief, Russian President’s special aide for Afghanistan and Qatar foreign ministry’s special envoy have visited Islamabad in a bid to avoid collapse of the fragile peace process.