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Politics

Contact groups yet to finalize procedures for intra-Afghan talks

By: Lailuma Noori

Discussions on modality of procedural rules between Afghanistan government and Taliban negotiating teams have stuck for the past 10 days in Doha.
The two main articles as religious basis for the talks and connection of the US-Taliban deal with the negotiations are the main gap and have remained unsolved between Afghanistan government and Taliban negotiating teams.
Now, the negotiating team of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is against the two respective issues; instead they have alternative for each of them.
Maintaining ceasefire in Afghanistan is one of debatable issues in the talks. The negotiating team of Afghanistan government is insisting on ceasefire in talks with the Taliban group, but Taliban has rejected ceasefire before any political deal. Meanwhile, Taliban is insisting on connection of the US-Taliban deal for talks with Afghanistan government.
Afghanistan government and Taliban negotiating teams have not held any meetings for the past 10 days. Currently, they have not finalized procedural rules for any peace talks and it is not yet clear when they resume meeting to discuss procedural rules.
Afghan political experts believe that no framework for any peace talks has been made or finalized so far. The country’s constitution is not accepted by the Taliban. On the other hand, the US-Taliban peace deal considered as the main base for intra-Afghan talks by the group, is not acceptable by Afghanistan government.
There are lots of similarities existed naturally between the two sides of negotiating teams, but crisis and perplexity of Afghanistan continued war have caused that such similarities are ignored intentionally or somehow rejected. Therefore, basis of war in Afghanistan in absence of a framework has been put aside and much time is needed to form it.
At the same time, making a mechanism or framework for talks can pave the way for identification of reasons of war because if the issue of war is not fundamentally resolved, war will continue under another flag and name even if Taliban join the current political system. Therefore, to reach a comprehensive peace, new ways should be sought to find causes of war and then address all of them.
Procedural rules have not been finalized so far, while intra-Afghan talks between Afghanistan government and Taliban started on 12 September. Previously, US special peace envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad had asked for conclusion of talks in months, saying that extension of the process to years was not acceptable for international community as well as the people of Afghanistan.
It is worth mentioning that despite recent efforts in the diplomatic fronts in the past two weeks, the two sides of the negotiations have not managed so far to reach a conclusion about the procedural rules intended to kick start the direct peace negotiations aimed at ending the decades-long war in Afghanistan.

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