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Taliban, US Resume Talks, But No Opening with Afghan Government

Published Dec 09, 2019
Updated Feb 06, 2020

Suhail Shaheen, the spokesman for the Taliban’s political office in Doha said that the Taliban is ready for the return of Zalmay Khalilzad to Qatar to start Peace Talks.

In an interview with Mehr News correspondent, Shaheen said that the Taliban is ready for Khalilzad’s return to Qatar to start Peace Talks, adding that they are not willing to negotiate with the Afghan government and accept ceasefire before signing a peace agreement which has been already prepared.

He noted that they have been informed on Khalilzad’s visit to Qatar through the US Department of State.

In this regard, the members of the Taliban’s political office in Doha expect the Peace Talks to resume within the next few days, he added.

US Department of State announced that US Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad would visit Kabul in Afghanistan and then he will travel to Qatar to begin a new round of peace talks between Taliban and Americans over the ceasefire and ways to end the war in Afghanistan.

But Shaheen says the Taliban is not expected to cease fire and negotiate with the current Afghan government before signing a peace MoU.

The Americans have never asked the Taliban to cease fire immediately or start talks with the Afghan government simultaneously with the beginning of the negotiation, spokesman for the Taliban’s political office in Doha said, adding that the peace agreement has been finalized and it will be discussed during the coming negotiation.

Referring to the schedule of US troop’s withdrawal from Afghanistan and ceasefire’s coincidence with their departure, Shaheen said that all of these issues have been discussed previously, and the solution is outlined in the Memorandum of Understanding.

He claimed that the Afghan election was illegitimate, saying that the Taliban do not recognize this election because Afghanistan is occupied by the US and the election will is be expected as challenging.

In this regard, no one accepts this election, he added.

Shaheen reiterated that the issue of elections and the future Afghanistan government will be among the issues that will be addressed after the agreement is signed.

Rejecting the possibility of Taliban’s cooperation with the future Afghan government resulting from this election, he said that If the Taliban is to recognize the future Afghanistan government, then what is the insistence on war, and there will be no need for resistance.

There is no justification for accepting the Afghan government, he added.

Shaheen emphasized that the Taliban will recognize every faction that wins the Afghan election as a side to the war, not as a government.