Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Monday, January 18th, 2021

Negotiating Team Likely to Depart for Doha on Saturday

Negotiating Team Likely to  Depart for Doha on Saturday

KABUL - The trip of the delegation representing the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in the peace talks with the Taliban to Doha, Qatar, was delayed today for unknown reasons.
The Afghan government did not comment on the matter, but sources close to Afghanistan's negotiating team said that the trip is likely to take place on Saturday.
Suhail Shaheen, a spokesman for the Taliban’s political office in Doha, in a note to TOLOnews said that an exact date for the start of the intra-Afghan talks has not been set due to some technical issues.
Sources familiar with the Afghan peace process said one of the core issues for the delay is that the Taliban has so far not completed the members of their peace negotiating team in Doha.
This comes a day after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in a cabinet meeting said all obstructions have been removed from the way of the peace talks, stating that the negotiations will kick off in near future.
“We do not have any hostage with the Taliban from our commandos or others. The Taliban is also confident that their hardcore prisoners were released, so there should be no more excuses,” said Abdul Rahim Rahin, a former MP.
“The Taliban’s delegation has so far not returned from Pakistan to Qatar. Also, the seven Taliban prisoners against whom Australia and France expressed their reservations have not been transferred to Qatar from Bagram (district in Afghanistan),” said Sami Yousuzai, a freelance journalist in Doha.
Meanwhile, Deborah Lyons, UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, in a briefing to the UN Security Council on Thursday called for a humanitarian ceasefire to be announced in the country as the negotiating teams of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban prepare to sit in Doha for talks that are aimed to end the deadly conflict that has gripped the nation for the past two decades.
Lyons highlighted key developments around peace, human rights, the humanitarian situation and other pressing issues, stating that a humanitarian ceasefire was crucial to ensure that humanitarian efforts are delivered.
“I want to emphasize again the importance of the humanitarian ceasefire. This is a win win for both parties to the peace talks and it is clearly a win for the Afghan people. We all need to be raising our voices to focus on the need for a humanitarian ceasefire,” said Lyons.
She reiterated the imperative for intra-Afghan negotiations and a political solution to end the conflict.
“As I speak, Afghans representing the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan are preparing to sit with other Afghans representing the Taliban to discuss, at long last, a political settlement to the conflict. This is truly a historic moment,” said Lyons. “The coming days will hopefully bring the formal launch of intra-Afghan negotiations.”
Amid hopes, meanwhile, Kay Bailey Hutchison, the Permanent Representative of the United States to NATO has expressed hope that the Afghans come together and safeguard the gains the country made over the past years.
“We call on all parties to move forward now on intra-Afghan negotiations without delay, NATO allies and partners continue to stay in with the Afghan people in their pursuit of their security  and stability they have long fought for and deserve,” she said.
“As Afghans chose their path forward, We hope and expect that they will preserve these gains together we secured at such a high cost,” added ambassador Hutchison.
In addition, Ambassador Geng Shuang, Deputy Permanent Representative of China to the United Nations on Thursday in his remarks to the UNSC meeting called on the international community to respect the will and aspiration of the Afghan people by supporting the Afghan peace process and understanding the concerns of the regional countries.
He said that no one should try to use their leverage on the peace process.
Afghans said that major deadlocks have been removed from the way of the peace process and that the warring sides should avoid making illogical excuses. (TOLO NEWS)