By: Suraya Raiszada
As efforts are underway in national and international level for direct talks between Afghanistan government and the Taliban group, sources close to the Taliban have told media that there will be a short ceasefire after peace agreement is signed with the US side.
Based on reports, Taliban negotiators in a meeting with US representatives have stressed that their consultations were positive and might reach agreement regarding ceasefire in Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, Afghanistan government officials say before any peace agreement between US and the Taliban group, the group should exercise ceasefire and enter into direct talks with Afghanistan government.
“Peace can be maintained as a result of direct talks between Afghanistan government and the Taliban group,” said Najia Anwari, a spokesperson to state ministry for peace affairs.
Anwary stressed that Taliban should not ignore the opportunity for peace in Afghanistan and say ‘yes’ to the people’s demand for maintaining ceasefire and starting direct talks with Afghanistan government.
Sources say US special peace envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad is in Qatar and waiting for Taliban to coordinate their visions in connection with reduction of violence and maintaining ceasefire in the country so that way is paved for signing peace agreement between the two sides.
Meanwhile, Second Vice President Sarwar Danesh in his recent remarks by pointing to peace talks has said ceasefire should be maintained between Afghanistan government and the Taliban group when peace talks begin.
“We believe that peace talks begin with ownership and leadership of Afghanistan government and by starting the talks, the people of Afghanistan cannot trust in slogans of the Taliban that they want peace in the country,” Danesh said.
In recent months, leaders of Afghanistan government have asked for starting unconditional talks with the Taliban group, but the group has rejected the demand and preferred to start peace talks with US side.
This comes at a time when the US Congress allows the Pentagon to spend up $15 million this year for logistical support for peace talks in Afghanistan, Rollcall.com reported.
But the Pentagon said it is “likely” that some of the funds will at least indirectly help the Taliban. This is significant because of existing US laws prohibiting aid to groups that have been designated as terrorist organizations.
The peace plan allocation, which is part of the National Defense Authorization Act, signed last week by President Trump, requires provisions for exemption from these laws, which US Congress granted.
Afghan political experts believe that one of successes of the ongoing peace talks will be that all parties to the ongoing conflict agree on ceasefire and end the war through a political settlement.
“We are asking both sides the government and the Taliban group to resolve their problems and reach an agreement for maintaining ceasefire in the country,” said Sayed Akbar Agha, a former member of the Taliban group.
After a break was called for the current peace talks in Doha, US Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad visited Kabul and met Afghan leaders and politicians. Sources say that Khalilzad has returned to Qatar, but US officials have not confirmed the news.