The Afghan Talban and the Afghan government have reached an agreement on the terms of reference for the initiation of the intra-Afghan talks on Wednesday, breaking the deadlock that had persisted between the two sides.
Spokesperson for the Taliban’s political office Dr. Muhammad Naeem confirmed the development in a tweet.
In a series of tweets, US Special Envoy for Afghan Peace Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad also confirmed the development and welcomed the move, saying this is what the “Afghan people want and deserve.”
Last week, the Afghan Presidential Palace had rejected reports of any progress in peace negotiations between negotiators of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban, and said the deadlock in the talks has not broken so far.
Sources had recently reported a breakthrough in the talks, and claimed both sides had agreed to include the US-Taliban agreement, UN endorsements for the Afghan peace process, commitments of the negotiating teams, and the will of the Afghan people as the base for the upcoming negotiations.
But Afghan presidential spokesman Sediq Sediqqi told reporters last week that the Taliban’s demand is “against the Constitution.” However, he did not provide details in this respect.
Sediqqi had said peace is a priority for President Ghani and that the Taliban should join the peace process as it is supported by the international community. He had added the Afghan government also calls for an immediate end to violence.
Sources said that Afghan chief negotiator Mohammad Massoom Stanikzai and presidential peace advisor Salam Rahimi were on a secret trip to Kabul last week where they sought President Ghani’s approval for the agreed formulation.
Foreign Office’s Reaction
In a press release by the Foreign Office, the Pakistani government welcomed the announcement of the agreement between Afghan parties on rules and procedures. “The agreement reflects a common resolve of the parties to secure a negotiated settlement,” the statement reads, “It is an important development contributing towards a successful outcome of Intra-Afghan Negotiations, which we all hope for.”
The press release also showed Pakistan’s determination to continue its to support Intra-Afghan Negotiations. Foreign Office expressed hope that the process would “culminate in an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political solution paving the way for a peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan.”