The Kabul Times.
Politics

Negotiating teams still not agreed on key points

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By: Lailuma Noori

Although intra-Afghan talks between Afghanistan government and Taliban negotiating teams have started since 12 September in Qatar, both sides have not been able to agree on agenda of the meeting.
The negotiating teams of both sides of the peace negotiations have held seven contact group meetings, but could not agree on disputed points.
The contact groups have not held any meetings for the past one week. Both negotiating teams of the government and Taliban have not admitted any deadlock in the talks, but saying that it is only stagnation in debates.

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According to sources, head of Afghanistan government negotiating team Mohammad Masoum Stanekzai and head of Taliban negotiating teama Shaikh Abdul Hakim have individually met and discussed key issues. All other members of both sides have individually met with each other, but no official meeting has been held for the past one week.
The sources have added that both sides have held internal meetings to resolve the disputes. Currently, the issues of Hanafi jurisprudence as the sole religious legal guidelines for the talks and recognition of the US-Taliban agreement as the mother deal underlying the Afghan peace negotiations are two disputed points have not been resolved so far.
In 131st article of the country’s constitution, Jafari religion is recognized, while parliament has approved a separate law on Shia citizens in the country. Afghan political experts are stressing that tribal and religious issues should not be raised again.
They say that the country’s constitution recognizes all languages and religions of the country and have been approved by Loya Jirga; therefore, it is not acceptable to ignore the country’s constitution.
On the other hand, sources to Afghanistan government negotiating team have confirmed that a number of countries supporting Afghanistan peace process are working to address gaps between negotiating teams of Afghanistan government and Taliban in Qatar.
According to the sources, representatives of these countries are in close contact with both sides to find a way for solution of the disputes.
Nevertheless, it seems that Taliban are not interested in ending the war and violence and joining peace process through peace talks. They want to get the entire power and are stressing on exercising Islamic Sharia in the country.
Currently, all efforts are underway to finalize work procedure and then agenda for coming meetings between Afghanistan government and Taliban negotiating teams.
It is worth mentioning that President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has left first for Kuwait and then Qatar. During his two-day official visit to Qatar, President Ghani will discuss Afghanistan peace process with Qatari officials.

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The Kabul Times.