Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Friday, April 19th, 2019

Qatar Talks Continue but Behind Closed Doors

Qatar Talks Continue but Behind Closed Doors

Sources said Taliban has agreed on a longer timeline for foreign troops’ withdrawal.
DOHA - The fifth round of the US negotiators and Taliban members’ talks entered their 13th day on Saturday but the details of the negotiations have not been disclosed as they are carried out behind the closed doors.
Sources close to Zalmay Khalilzad, the US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, who leads the talks, said both sides have reached agreements on some issues.
The details of the agreements, however, have not been leaked to media and it is unknown which type of agreements they have reached.
Khalilzad last month said that “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed”.
“There are rumors that a permanent ceasefire will be announced in the new solar year (later this month) under an agreement between the Afghan government, the US and the Taliban,” said Bilal Niazi, a political affairs analyst, who is familiar with the talks. “We will start the (next solar) year with a permanent ceasefire.”
One of the issues, according to sources close to the Taliban, which has made the talks complicated is the timeline for withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan. Taliban has repeatedly insisted on an immediate withdrawal of foreign forces.
Other sources, meanwhile, said that Taliban has increased the duration of the timeline for foreign forces pullout. Taliban, however, has not commented on this.
“They have made an agreement on the foreign forces withdrawal,” said Faiz Zaland, a political affairs analyst familiar with US-Taliban talks. “Now they (US and the Taliban) are discussing the issue that after the foreign forces’ pullout, will Taliban be a threat against the region or not.”
Amid the ongoing talks, clashes are reported from different parts of the country between the Afghan forces and the Taliban.
“From one hand, we are busy with peace, and from the other hand, they (Taliban) want to damage government’s legitimacy. Also, they (Taliban) will cause foreign forces to leave Afghanistan and Pakistan’s pressure will decrease (against them). But Taliban’s war machine will continue,” said Rahmatullah Nabil, former head of the National Directorate of Security and a presidential candidate.
Some Kabul residents, meanwhile, said they are worried about the possible outcomes of the talks as according to them, the people are kept in the dark and the talks are ongoing behind the closed doors.
“We should know what is ongoing behind the closed doors and what they are talking about,” said Tania, a Kabul resident.
“The Afghan youth have not been given a role in the peace talks. They should be given a role and they can express their views,” said Mina, a Kabul resident.
Sources said the Doha talks will continue in the future and may enter to the sixth round.
According to the sources, both sides are confident that they will reach a final agreement, but the discussions on details of the agreements, have prolonged the talks.
Last week, the US Department of State said US and Taliban have agreed on four key interconnected issues that possibly will lead them to a final agreement that might bring peace in Afghanistan.
The four key issues are counterterrorism, a ceasefire, foreign forces withdrawal and intra-Afghan talks. (Tolo news)