By: The Kabul Times
KABUL: Germany supports talks between the U.S. and the Taliban aimed at reviving the stalled peace process in Afghanistan, a German official said on Friday.
“Basically, our position is that we welcome these [the U.S.-Taliban] talks and we hope that — we as the international community — can make a contribution to get the peace process in Afghanistan underway. We have repeatedly emphasized that this is our goal,” Rainer Breul, a deputy spokesman for the Foreign Ministry, told a regular government press briefing in Berlin.
His remarks came after U.S. President Donald Trump announced Thursday the resumption of peace talks with the Taliban after making a surprise trip to Afghanistan to celebrate Thanksgiving with American troops.
American and Taliban negotiators have reportedly met for several rounds of peace talks since last year, while the progress has been unable to finalize a peace agreement.
Meanwhile, Breul stressed that the main focus should also be on “reducing the violence” in Afghanistan.
The German official also confirmed recent talks between Germany’s special envoy to Afghanistan Markus Potzel and Taliban representatives in Qatar’s capital Doha.
Breul did not provide details of the talks, citing “confidentiality”.
“I can confirm that our representative has met with the Taliban in Doha. I cannot comment on the content of the confidential talks,” he added.
Germany has been at the forefront of Western diplomatic efforts to end the 18-year war in Afghanistan.
After nearly a year of U.S.-Taliban negotiations, held in the Qatari capital of Doha and led on the U.S. side by special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, the parties reached a four-part agreement that included a partial withdrawal of U.S. troops and a Taliban pledge to sever relations with al-Qaeda and to ensure that none of the territory would be used for terrorist activities directed at the United States or its allies.
But after secretly planning a meeting with Taliban negotiators at Camp David to seal the deal, Trump suddenly canceled the agreement and negotiations altogether, saying that “as far as I’m concerned, they’re dead.”
Trump said at the time that he had called off the talks after the Taliban took responsibility for an attack that killed 12 people, including a U.S. service member. “What kind of people would kill so many in order to seemingly strengthen their bargaining position?” Trump said in a tweet.
Although the election took place in late September, no winner has been declared amid charges of widespread irregularities at the polls. Earlier this month, President Ghani agreed to release three Taliban prisoners in exchange for two hostages — an American and an Australian, both professors at the University of Kabul — held by the Taliban for the past three years.