KABUL: The Afghan authorities has finalised a 21-member staff — together with 5 ladies — who will negotiate with the Taliban in upcoming talks geared toward ending Afghanistan’s 18-year-old battle, officers mentioned on Friday.
The transfer is a vital step in bringing the opponents to the desk and getting a floundering, US-led peace course of again on observe.
Below a deal signed by the US and the Taliban final month, the insurgents agreed to decide to beginning talks with the Afghan authorities and focus on a potential ceasefire. Earlier, the Taliban had refused to fulfill representatives of the federal government, calling President Ashraf Ghani an American stooge.
In return for beginning talks and different commitments, the US and overseas accomplice forces will withdraw from Afghanistan over the following 14 months.
The negotiating staff was presupposed to be unveiled weeks in the past, with the “intra-Afghan” talks with the Taliban meant to get underway on March 10 in Oslo.
However Kabul has been gripped by a contemporary political disaster, with Ghani’s legitimacy being challenged by his rival Abdullah Abdullah, who additionally has proclaimed himself president.
The negotiating staff shall be led by former Afghan intelligence chief Masoom Stanekzai, who as a Pashtun shares a tribal identification with the Taliban.
Whereas there was no instant indication of whether or not Abdullah helps the staff’s composition, it consists of Batur Dostum, whose father Abdul Rashid Dostum — a infamous former warlord — is a staunch Abdullah ally.
In a press release, Afghanistan’s peace ministry mentioned Ghani “wishes the delegation success and calls on them to consider, at all stages of negotiations, the best interest of the country, the shared values of the Afghan people, and the principle stand of the country for a united Afghanistan”.
Among the many 5 ladies delegates is Habiba Sarabi, deputy chief of the federal government’s Excessive Peace Council. Sarabi is a Hazara, the predominantly Shia ethnic group that the Taliban have repeatedly focused.
One other lady delegate is Fawzia Koofi, an ethnic Tajik and a girl’s rights activist who has been a vocal Taliban critic.
It’s not clear when or the place the “intra-Afghan” talks will begin. Given the coronavirus pandemic, officers say there’s a likelihood they might start through videoconference.
On Wednesday, the federal government mentioned its functionaries would meet Taliban members instantly to debate an enormous prisoner swap that may see the discharge of 5,000 Taliban prisoners and 1,000 from the federal government facet.
That trade had additionally been agreed within the US-Taliban deal, regardless that Ghani is just not a signatory.
The US has left Ghani little alternative however to get on board with the deal, and this week Washington lower $1 billion in assist amid continued bickering between Ghani and Abdullah.
Printed in Daybreak, March 28th, 2020