South Asian Countries

Afghanistan: Peace talks stall as Taliban seeks more concessions from Afghan govt, UN

Kabul: As US and NATO troops withdraw from Afghanistan after a long, bloody but unsuccessful military campaign, intense fighting has started between the Taliban and Afghan government forces.

As fierce fighting rages in Afghanistan amid the withdrawal of US and NATO military forces, the Taliban continues to capture territory from the Afghan government forces.

With US military forces scheduled to withdraw from Afghanistan by the anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, the Taliban is trying to capture as much territory as possible in order to strengthen its position at the negotiating table and stake a strong claim in any future government.

Taliban fighters are capturing the main centers of various rural districts of Afghanistan and have intensified attacks on Afghan forces.

However, Afghan security forces are fighting back and have inflicted heavy casualties on the Taliban on several occasions. 

Even as intense and fierce fighting rages between the Taliban and Afghan security forces, the two sides are engaged in a dialogue in Doha, UAE in an effort to kickstart the peace process in Afghanistan.

But the dialogue seems to be stalling as the Taliban has put forward several demands which the Afghan government is reluctant to fulfill.

Taliban have sought the release of more prisoners and the removal of its leaders’ names from the UN blacklist as a trust-building measure, Atta Mohammad Noor, a high-level Afghan politician, said on Tuesday.

Noor, who attended the two-day Doha negotiations with the Taliban delegation, said this will not happen and the government will not repeat its previous act — of releasing 5,000 inmates — which did not help in reducing violence or furthering the peace process in the country. 

He said three commissions were formed during the two days of talks in Doha but none led to any results, TOLOnews reported.

This comes as the Afghan government and Taliban were expected to announce at least a three-day ceasefire during Eid. However, it did not happen despite a high-level meeting in Doha, Qatar.

Amid the continuing offensive by Taiban, Noor said that trust can be built through other ways.

“Trust can be built through understanding, partnership in power, political partnership, end of war, reduction in violence, and ceasefire. We could have started from any other route, but regretfully, this did not happen,” he said.

Welcoming the agreement in Doha for the continuation of negotiations, he said: “We hope that one day the other side will realise that war is not the solution in Afghanistan and peace is in the interest of all sides.”

On Monday, President Ghani accused the Taliban of having secret deals with Pakistan. Speaking to the media during a trip to Herat province, Ghani said the Taliban has destroyed over 140 mosques.

“How did you deal concerning Afghanistan’s water? How did you deal on Afghanistan’s mines? How did you deal on Afghanistan’s defence and security forces? How did you deal on the Durand Line?” Ghani asked.

Meanwhile, the Taliban have denied the allegations.

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