Abdullah calls on Taliban to resume talks

KABUL (Tolo News): Abdullah Abdullah, head of the High Council for National Reconciliation, said the Taliban violence remains high and that the Afghan people are bearing the sacrifice. He called on the group to return to the negotiating table and resume talks.

The negotiations between delegations from the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban have stopped for the last 35 days, during which time both sides were expected to hold meetings at the working group level to finalize the agenda of the talks.  “We also want the negotiations to begin as soon as possible and to continue seriously,” Abdullah said. 

Abdullah, who has been attending meetings with representatives from various layers of society in recent weeks, spoke with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and discussed the US’s review of its strategy in Afghanistan.  The US Department of State said in a statement that Blinken and Abdullah discussed the United States’ review of its strategy in Afghanistan.

“The Secretary thanked Abdullah for his vital work in support of the Afghanistan peace process, and he expressed America’s resolve to support a just and durable political settlement and permanent and comprehensive ceasefire in Afghanistan,” it said.  “Ceasefire is the main demand of Afghans and the continuation of violence is taking lives of people every day,” Abdullah said. Meanwhile, President Ashraf Ghani in a telephone conversation with families of fallen soldiers assured them that he will not allow the establishment of an interim government as part of peace efforts.

“Be sure that they (Taliban) will not see an interim government while I am alive. I am not the tree that shakes with winds,” Ghani said.  Sources close to the Taliban said that the Taliban violence has increased due to the Biden administration’s lack of interest in the peace process of Afghanistan. “Violence has increased because the Taliban thinks that the Biden administration is distancing itself from discussions on peace,” said Faiz Mohammad Zaland, a university lecturer.

Sources close to the Taliban said the group’s distance from the peace talks is due to a lack of removal of Taliban’s names from the UN blacklist, uncertainty around the fate of the Taliban prisoners and uncertainty around assessments of Washington of the Doha agreement.