Khalilzad meets Taliban in Doha amid delay in direct peace talks b/w two sides

Pic courtesy: Ariana news

New Delhi (NVI): As the Taliban drags its feet on Afghan peace negotiations, deliberately delaying the much-needed talks, Zalmay Khalilzad, the US special representative for Afghanistan reconciliation, met the Taliban deputy leader Abdul Ghani Baradar and their chief negotiator Mawlawi Abdul Hakim in Doha, reports TOLO news.

The meeting took place yesterday as Khalilzad is visiting Doha at least three weeks after the inauguration ceremony of Afghanistan’s peace negotiations in Doha.

Taliban spokesman Mohammad Naeem said it was insisted in the meeting that more efforts should be made for the implementation of the US-Taliban agreement. He said that the release of Taliban prisoners was also discussed in the meeting, reports the Afghan news portal.

So far, negotiating teams from both sides have held six meetings in contact groups level to discuss their procedural rules, but they are yet to agree on two out of 20 articles.

Taliban spokesman Mohammad Naeem said that the group does not feel the need for a mediator for the Afghan peace negotiations and stated that resolving a 40-year conflict requires patience to reach a conclusion.

While the Taliban demands recognition of the US-Taliban agreement as the ‘mother deal’ underlying the Afghan peace negotiations, the Afghan republic team has recommended four options. Taliban also demands Hanafi Figh as the sole religious legal guidelines for the talks.

Meanwhile, regarding the US-Taliban agreement, the republic’s team has recommended four options:

Under the first option, the terms of the US-Taliban agreement could be accepted as underlying the talks, however, the terms of the joint declaration between the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, NATO and the US should also be accepted as applicable.

The second option says that neither the US-Taliban agreement nor the declarations of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan with the US and NATO will be recognized as having any authority, and the negotiations will move forward based on the decisions of the consultative Loya Jirga and the Jirga’s declarations.

As per the third option, both sides start talks “based on the national interest of Afghanistan.”

The fourth option says the Quran and Hadith are the main authority for the talks, replacing all others.

“There is a huge difference in the views between the two sides, therefore gaps and delays are common during the talks,” Mohammad Rasoul Talib, a member of the republic’s negotiating team was quoted as saying by TOLO news.

The Afgan news website reported that the republic’s team has proposed that if a religious issue arises it can be solved based on Hanafi Figh by default, however, the Shia Personal Status Law must be respected, and the choice of religious jurisprudence should be given to other minority groups as well.

On the other hand, the Taliban insist that talking about the Jafari jurisprudence under current circumstances is not logical but said that this can be discussed during the talks about the Constitution of the country.