As the US and Taliban began a new round of peace talks in Doha, an Afghanistan government spokesman said that “all allies” of the country, as well as the “people of Afghanistan,” were “insisting on a ceasefire” before the next step in the peace process.
In this latest round of peace talks in Qatar, the Taliban reportedly agreed to a reduction in violence for a 10-day period which means the group will not carry out attacks in urban areas, TOLO News reported.
Addressing a press conference in Kabul on Saturday, spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said that the talks were underway between US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad’s team and the Taliban negotiators, but there has been “no progress so far”, referring specifically to discussions about a ceasefire or reduction in violence.
Last month, the Afghan government disclosed a list of delegates for the peace negotiating team once the US and the Taliban finalize their peace deal.
Earlier in September, Zalmay Khalilzad, Washington’s Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation had said that the US and Taliban are “at the threshold of an agreement” that would reduce violence and open the door for Afghans to sit together and negotiate.
On December 19, Khalilzad also said that the US and Taliban were approaching an important stage in the Afghan peace process.
In August, peace talks between Washington and the Taliban had to reach a deal on the withdrawal of thousands of American troops collapsed after President Trump cited an attack that killed a US soldier as his reason for pulling out of negotiations. The talks did not include the Afghan government.
The Taliban had never agreed to end their violent campaign against Afghan and foreign forces while negotiations were taking place. Sixteen US troops have been killed this year.
In 2001, US-led forces overthrew the Taliban government in Afghanistan because the militants had given safe haven to the Al-Qaeda network to plan the attacks on the US on September 11.
A possible US-Taliban agreement is expected to pave the way for intra-Afghan peace talks between the Taliban and the government of President Ashraf Ghani.
The Taliban have for long rejected to hold any official and direct talks with the Afghan government before it reaches an agreement with the US on its troop withdrawal from the country.