Foreign Diplomats Criticized For ‘Backdoor’ Meetings With Taliban

A number of Kabul-based critics on Wednesday cast their doubt on the aim of the foreign diplomats meetings with the Taliban deputy leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and his team in Doha, saying that it means giving legitimacy to the group.

Ghani Baradar has had four meetings with top foreign diplomats in less than a month.

He has met with the UN’s Afghan mission chief Tadamichi Yamamoto, Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Lestari, Markus Potzel, Germany’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan and Roland Kobia, the European Union Envoy for Afghanistan.

During his meetings, Baradar discussed Afghanistan’s situation, measures to prevent civilian casualties and negotiations with the US delegation, according to a statement by the Taliban.

“Meetings of the Europeans with the Taliban members indicate that they have accepted the Taliban as a government in the future; therefore, they are also asking for guarantee from the group,” said Fazl Rahman Orya, a political affairs analyst.

“The peace talks have hit a deadlock. The reason for the deadlock is that the world countries have not reached a consensus on the issue,” said Najib Azad, a political affairs analyst.

What would be the impact of these meetings on peace?

“The Europeans can play a critical role in the peace process,” said Sayed Akbar Agha, a former Taliban member. “I am aware that there is the possibility that Germany will also play a role in the next round of talks in Doha if their views and ideas are taken into consideration.”

“No doubt, the United States as a superpower has its key role in the political issues of Afghanistan and the region. If there is coordination regarding the peace talks, we can be hopeful about an outcome of the reconciliation,” said Arif Kayani, a spokesman for Mehwar-e-Mardom Afghanistan political movement.

Earlier in May, the US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad met with Baradar in Doha where the two sides reportedly exchanged views on a peaceful settlement of the conflict in Afghanistan.

Since his appointment in September, Khalilzad has met six times with the Taliban leaders.

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