There are hopes of a breakthrough as the Afghan government and the Taliban start a fresh round of negotiations in Qatar capital Doha on Tuesday.
Previous rounds of talks between the two sides have so far yielded little, but they saw a ray of light last year when they finally agreed at least on what to discuss in the next round.
The government negotiators will stress for a permanent cease-fire and to protect the existing system of governance, in place since 2001 after the ouster of the Taliban by a US-led invasion following the September 11 attacks.
The talks could be tricky and time-consuming, said government negotiator Ghulam Farooq Majroh. He, however, expressed the hope of a breakthrough as Afghan people “are tired of the war.”
The first direct talks between the two sides started in September after a long delay but quickly hit a snag due to disagreement on the basic framework of discussions and religious interpretations.
A diplomatic effort from the U.S. finally led to a consensus.
The negotiations follow a landmark deal signed in February by the Taliban and Washington, as a result of which all foreign forces will leave Afghanistan by May 2021