Islamabad: With violence spiking, Afghanistan’s warring sides have returned to the negotiation table, ending more than a month of delays amid hopes that the two sides can agree on a reduction of violence – and eventually, an outright ceasefire.
Taliban spokesman Dr. Mohamed Naim said on Twitter on Monday night that negotiations have resumed in the Middle Eastern countries of Qatar, where the rebel movement maintains political positions. Apart from the “harmonious” atmosphere, there are no other details, promised to continue negotiations, and announced that the first business will determine the agenda.
When the negotiations abruptly ended just a few days after the beginning of January, both parties submitted their agenda wish lists. Now, the task of both parties is to screen their respective wish lists and agree on negotiation items and order of settlement.
The top priority for the Afghan government, Washington and NATO is to drastically reduce the violence that leads to the ceasefire. The Taliban have said that this is negotiable, but until now, it has resisted any immediate ceasefire.
Washington is reviewing the February 2020 peace agreement signed by the former Trump administration and the Taliban, which calls for the final withdrawal of international forces before May 1. The Taliban rejected the proposal to extend it even briefly, but the Washington consensus is being postponed. Before the withdrawal deadline.
There are even suggestions to keep a smaller intelligence force and use it only for counter-terrorism and the increasingly active and lethal Islamic State branch headquartered in eastern Afghanistan.
But neither Washington nor NATO has announced a decision to determine the fate of the approximately 10,000 soldiers still in Afghanistan, including 2,500 American soldiers. The Biden administration emphasized a political solution to the protracted conflict in Afghanistan. He retained Zalmay Khalilzad, the man who negotiated the U.S. peace agreement with the Taliban, and until now has avoided anything about the way forward. Make a clear statement.
Prior to the resumption of diplomatic negotiations in Doha, diplomatic activities developed rapidly, including a steady stream of officials to Pakistan and its powerful army general, General Kamal Javid Baywa. Pakistan is considered essential for making the Taliban stand out, and for suppressing the insurgency-the organization’s leadership is based in Pakistan-to reduce violence in Afghanistan.
Just last week, General Kenneth McKenzie, commander of the U.S. Central Command, Zamir Kabulov, the special envoy of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Mutrak bin Majed, the special envoy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Qatar · Dr. Qatani is also in Islamabad. Umar Daudzai, the special envoy of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, is expected to take place in Islamabad on Wednesday.
Although the details of the meeting are still sketchy, Afghanistan still has a prominent feature. Officials familiar with the meeting said that it will reduce violence and ultimately lead to a ceasefire.
Pakistan, which still has 1.5 million Afghan refugees, has repeatedly stated that the only solution in Afghanistan is a political solution. It has previously been praised for bringing the Taliban to the negotiating table.
Coincidentally, Islamabad’s latest diplomatic activities coincided with discussions about Pakistan at the Financial Action Task Force meeting in Paris this week, which is investigating terrorist financing and money laundering activities. Pakistan is currently on the so-called “grey list”, which is the last step before the blacklist, which will severely weaken the country’s borrowing capacity.
Few analysts believe that Pakistan will be blacklisted. So far, Pakistan only includes Iran and North Korea, but Islamabad is trying to remove them from the gray list. Although Pakistan has allies like China, among the 37 members of FATF, the support of Russia and the United States is essential to remove it from the gray list.
The problems facing the Taliban and the Afghan government are still thorny, and it is unclear whether any country has enough influence on both sides to force the peace agreement to last.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has flatly refused an interim administration, and his critics accuse him of wanting to hold on to power. Meanwhile, a Taliban official says they want a “new Islamic government” that would not include Ghani, but refused to give details of this government and whether it would even include elections. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
In an open letter to the American people last week, the Taliban’s lead negotiator in the U.S./Taliban deal, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar urged compliance with the deal, promised rights for men and women “based on Islamic law” without stipulating, vowed not to interfere in any other nation, and also vowed to end the world’s largest crop of poppies, which produces opium used in the production of heroin.