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13.3.2019 Kabul analysts grow upbeat with latest Doha talks
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Kabul-based political analysts on Wednesday dubbed the recent peace talks
between the Taliban and the US as ‘positive’ and hoped ceasefire and
intra-Afghan dialogue would be agreed in the next round.

A fifth round of negotiations between the US and Taliban representatives
was concluded after 16 days of discussions in Doha, the capital of Qatar,
on Tuesday.

US special representative for Afghan peace Zalmay Khalilzad on Tuesday
said that both sides agreed over a draft about US troops’ withdrawal from
Afghanistan and counterterrorism assurances.

The envoy wrote on his social account that “peace requires agreement on
four issues: counter-terrorism assurances, troop withdrawal, intra-Afghan
dialogue, and a comprehensive ceasefire.”

The Taliban also released a statement about the fifth round negotiations
with US representatives.

The Taliban statement said “In this round of negotiations, two issues
which were agreed upon in January were discussed in detail, these issues
include withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan and preventing
anyone from using Afghanistan soil against any country.”

The Taliban also said progress was made about the nature and time of
foreign troops’ withdrawal in the talks.

The Afghan government hailed advances made in the peace talks and hoped
future meetings would pave the way for a permanent ceasefire and direct
talks between the government and the Taliban.

Mohammad Hassan Haqyar, a political analyst, termed the latest US-Taliban
talks as ‘productive’ and said the two sides had agreed upon two key
issues—foreign forces withdrawal from Afghanistan and no use of
Afghanistan soil against any foreign country.

He said withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan was an important
issue because the Taliban had always criticized the presence of foreigners
and they conditioned intra-Afghan talks to withdrawal of foreign troops.

 “We hope the sixth and seventh rounds of talks would lead to a ceasefire
and negotiations with the government and Afghan politicians,” he said.

Faiz Mohammad Zaland, a lecturer at Kabul University, also termed the
recent US-Taliban talks in Doha as positive and said: “For the first time,
the two sides, who fought for 18 years, sat around a table and talked for
16 days.”

He said besides the withdrawal of foreign forces and assurance of not
allowing Afghanistan soil to be used against any country, there was also
agreements on continuing of such meetings in future.

Zaland asked the Afghan government not to spoil the peace process and work
honestly for peace achievement. He also hoped the next US-Taliban meeting
would be more productive.

Khalil Ahmad Shenkar, another Kabul University lecturer, also said that
the recent US-Taliban talks were unprecedented.

He called peace a major need of Afghans and hoped the next meeting between
the two sides would pave the way for ceasefire and intra-Afghan dialogue.


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