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Afghan Peace Negotiations Continue in Doha

Aug. 12, 2021 (EIRNS)—An ongoing run of meetings is being held in Doha as the Taliban continues to take over ever greater chunks of Afghanistan. On Aug. 11, talks began between delegates of the Afghan government and the Taliban in the presence of representatives from the U.S., Russia, China, and Pakistan, the Troika Plus. This was preceded on Aug. 10 by meetings with Afghanistan’s neighbors, plus Russia, the EU, the U.K., the United States, and the UN.

The two warring parties continue to trade barbs. The Afghan government said the Taliban doesn’t want negotiations, but rather wants to take over the country militarily, and called for a mediator on the matter. The Taliban insisted that they did want a negotiated solution, but claimed that the Afghan government had rejected the need for a mediator.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, who has been playing a central role in the negotiations recently, expressed pessimism after the initial meetings, saying that the Taliban insisted in discussions with him that they could not negotiate as long as Ashraf Ghani is President.

Today there were further meetings, which included, besides the Troika Plus, representatives from the UN, Qatar, India, and the U.K.. There will also be further discussion, in which Indonesia and Turkey will be on by videoconference. They all emphasized the need for a negotiated solution between the Taliban and the Afghan government. Afghan negotiators have also submitted a proposal for sharing power with the Taliban, but the response from the Taliban is not yet known.

When asked about the potential outcomes of the meetings, Yue Xiaoyong, Chinese special representative on Afghanistan, was quoted by Doha News as saying that it was only the beginning. “I think both sides always said that a military option is no solution and they both agreed that they want peace and a political settlement,” he said after the meetings.

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