Afghan Govt And Taliban Talks Likely In Two Weeks: Official

As the peace efforts are getting momentum with the hope of a breakthrough, a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Sunday that face-to-face talks between the Afghan government and Taliban representatives will likely take place within the next one or two weeks. 

Last month, Germany’s Special Envoy Markus Potzel said his country is willing to facilitate intra-Afghan talks after holding discussions with senior Afghan officials, including President Ghani and prominent Afghan politicians.

The seventh round of the US-Taliban talks entered the second day on Sunday with discussions on US forces withdrawal and intra-Afghan talks, according to sources familiar with the negotiations.

“Intra-Afghan talks likely to take place within the next one or two weeks and Germany has assured to facilitate direct talks between the representatives of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban,” a spokesman for Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sibghatullah Ahmadi, told reporters on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Qatar Foreign Ministry in a statement said that during the seventh round of talks, the two sides agreed to expedite efforts for ending the war by sealing a peace deal.

“During this round of talks, the two sides discussed the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan, the non-use of Afghanistan territory against the United States or any other country, participation in Afghan-Afghan dialogue and negotiations, and a comprehensive ceasefire,” said the statement.

According to the statement, the US and the Taliban negotiators also stressed the importance of ending the suffering of the Afghan people.

“In the opening statement, the two sides stressed the importance of ending the suffering of the Afghan people, who deserve peace. They also stressed the mutual desire of both sides to move quickly and make tangible progress,” it said.

Critics said the statement about possible intra-Afghan talks will be a major breakthrough in the stalled peace process.

“Discussions focused on two issues. First, a timetable for the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan and second, the start of intra-Afghan talks,” said Mawlawi Abdul Shakoor Mutmaen, a former Taliban member who served as head of the Olympic committee when the regime was in power in Kabul.

Fear of a Possible Deadlock

Some former members of the Taliban said that the process will be more complex and difficult in the future if the two sides fail to reach a breakthrough during this round of talks.

“I think the Taliban will lose trust in Americans if this round of talks does not yield an outcome,” a former Taliban member Sayed Akbar Agha said.

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