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Conflict of interest behind paused US-Taliban talks

Conflict of interest behind paused US-Taliban talks

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Feb 02, 2020 - 21:50

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): Political affairs experts believe the US and the Talibaninfo-icon are committed to their own interests and as a result, there is no progress in their peace talks.

Talks between the US and the Taliban resumed last month after US President Donald Trump abruptly suspended the parlays.

In recent times, talks between the US and the Taliban paused after a group attack on Bagram Airbase in central Parwan province. The Taliban took credit for the assault.

US Special Representative for Afghan Peace Zalmay Khalilzad who arrived in Kabul on Saturday from Islamabad told President Ashraf Ghani that there was no progress in latest talks with the Taliban.

He said they were still awaited a clear response from the Taliban about a reduction in violence and ceasefire.

Elsewhere, Taliban spokesperson in Qatar Sohail Shaheen said little progress has been made during the talks.

He said the Taliban held talks with Khalilzad and hoped for more progress in the future.

Kabul University Teacher Kabir Haqmal said the US and the Taliban never disclosed details of their talks, adding that the two parties never briefed the media on their discussions.

He said there were many hopes for peace but the Taliban were not under a single command and every stance the Qatar office took they had to convey it to their leadership for final decision.

“The current peace process is widespread, the support of neighbors, agreement of Taliban and several other groups are something that need hard work and it could generate the conflict of interest,” he said.

He supported the position adopted by the Afghan government, saying the peace process should not be considered easy and there was no need for haste in this regard.

Shaheen during talks with VoA accused the US sidefod creating hurdles in peace talks.

“We agreed that during signing of agreement there should a suitable environmentinfo-icon, but the US side made new demands that brought peace talks to a halt,” he said.

Peace activist Syed Khalid Sadaat said basic progress needed for peace between the US and the Taliban was yet to be achieved.

As a result of these talks, the US wanted to reduce its military spending and seek permanent presence in Afghanistaninfo-icon to get its goals.

He said the Taliban failed in its diplomatic tactics during talks with the US and the group now was unable to move forward or withdraw.

About reduction of violence, he said the idea was impractical as there was intense war in some provinces and 60 Afghan soldiers were killed in a single week despite airstrikes.

“Taliban try to get a huge advantage from the ongoing negotiations with the US and they are in a hurry to take control of the government or become part of the government”, he said.

Sadat said Taliban were tired of war and had run out of resources besides facing pressures from security forces.

Shafiq Hamdard, a political analyst, said the talks between the US and Taliban had been obscure so far.

“No one knows what issues were discussed, what are the sticking points as they have been in talks for the last one year,” he said.

He added that people were only guessing and they were unaware about real issues.

Khalilzad and Taliban did not talk about their differences.

“Based on our knowledge and anticipation, situation of the region and the worldinfo-icon is rapidly changing, any complexity in the region would affect the peace talks,” he said.

Hamdard said “If the peace talks are delayed, the process would be affected because the situation in the region has changed compared to last year, particularly the views of regional countries about peace in Afghanistan”, he said.

“It remains a question why the agreement prepared months ago is not signed yet between the US and the Taliban and there is no explanation about hurdles to peace”, he added.

“As I know the US and Taliban do not trust each other, they try to defeat one another like in a game, there would be no progress in talks until there is flexibility, honesty and trust,” he said.

Zia Wadan, another political analyst, criticized ongoing negotiations in Qatar and said the talks favored Pakistaninfo-icon.

“In reality, the talks in Doha are between the US and Pakistan”, he said, adding that talks would go forward when Pakistan wanted.

“Taliban are used as a tool and Khalizad could have told President Ghani about no development in peace talks over the phone, why he paid visit to Kabul”, he said.

Dr. Faiz Zaland, a lecturer in Kabul University, said that negotiations between the Taliban and US slow paced due to mistrust and Trump’s tweet delayed signature of the prepared agreement.

He said dual politics played by the government and Khalilzad and lack of commitment from the Afghan government about peace were to blame for no headway in the talks.

Intra-Afghan talks should start immediately after a possible agreement between US and the Taliban, but the US and Afghan government have no framework for such dialogues, he said.

 

Nh/mds/ma

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