The US and Taliban agreed to resume peace talks on Thursday in Doha, Qatar, aimed at chalking out a deal on the withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan in exchange for a Taliban commitment on security and negotiations with the government in Kabul.
Sources familiar with the ninth round of the talks said the negotiations will focus on three key issues, the mechanism of Taliban prisoners release; a decision on whether to keep US intelligence in Afghanistan after a peace deal; and at what level of leadership the peace deal between the two sides should be signed, TOLO News reported.
“The recent statement by the US President that some part of the US intelligence will remain in Afghanistan has turned into a matter of discussion for the Taliban and it has raised some concerns. In this round, they will again discuss the issue in detail,” said Sayed Akbar Agha, a former Taliban commander.
US Special Representative on Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad had said that Washington was ready to seal a peace deal with the Taliban if the group was ready for it.
Last month, Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani had asked the US government to clarify about President Donald Trump’s remark where he claimed that “he could easily win the war in 10 days” but that he didn’t “want to kill millions of people”.
Last year, the Taliban were preparing to send a delegation for talks with US officials about ending the conflict in Afghanistan and the meeting could address a possible prisoner swap.
Meanwhile, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Wednesday assured that peace would finally prevail in the war-torn country and that the nation should not have any concern about the ongoing talks between the US and the Taliban in Doha.
On the Taliban side, the assault on the strategic city of Ghazni last month that killed hundreds of soldiers, police and civilians underlined the insurgents’ determination to increase pressure on the Western-backed government in Kabul.