Taliban Launches Attack in Central Afghanistan Amid Intra-Afghan Summit in Qatar

Posted July 09, 2019

This time at least 60 Afghan delegates are reportedly taking part in the two-day intra-Afghan dialogue starting on Sunday.

Talks between the US and the Taliban are paused for two days as a group of Afghan politicians and civil society activists hold intra-Afghan dialogue at the same venue. The Taliban have repeatedly refused to recognize the Kabul government, dismissing it as an American puppet.

The insurgents, however, have consistently said they will sit down with any Afghan, even a government official, but as an ordinary citizen and not as a government representative. The insurgents have expressed their satisfaction with the advances made in the negotiations, focused on the withdrawal of United States troops and the Taliban's promise that no terror group will attack another country while based on Afghan soil. He added there must be a series of dialogues and discussions before entering negotiations and the Intra-Afghan dialogue had come within the framework of reaching an agreement on the terms of peace among the Afghan factions.

The attack came at the onset of a two-day meeting between Afghan citizens and the militants, meant to open the way to a peace process that should build on a hoped-for deal between the United States and the Taliban to end the longest ever USA war.

Khalilzad said he hoped direct negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban could begin "relatively soon" following the intra-Afghan summit.

In a visit to the Afghan capital late last month, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said September 1 was the target date for a peace deal to end America's longest running military engagement.

Khalilzad is holding US-led peace talks with the Taliban in Doha.

He will resume talks with the Taliban on Tuesday, he said.

Stakes are high for the talks which follow a week of US-Taliban negotiations with both sides eyeing a resolution to the bloody 18-year conflict.

The apparent U.S. breakthrough with the Taliban is simply because the Trump administration made a concession by agreeing to negotiate even though the insurgents are not talking to Kabul, she said.

The US negotiator said the deal that is being negotiated in Doha with the Taliban is "comprehensive and includes specifics on all four parts including a ceasefire, timeline, participating in intra-Afghan negotiations and counter-terrorism assurances".

The security situation in Afghanistan has been deteriorating recently.

Khalilzad said that issue had been discussed with the Taliban but added that he could not comment further.

In this file picture taken on April 28, 2019, USA special representative for Afghan peace and reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad speaks all over a discussion board with Afghan director of TOLO news Lotfullah Najafizada, at the Tolo TV space in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Khalilzad conceded there is a danger that escalating tensions between the United States and Iran could impact the Afghan peace process.

Talking to The Peninsula on the sidelines of the talks, Dr Ghairat Baheer, Senator from Hizb e Islami (Gulbuddin) said that intra-Afghan dialogue was complimentary to the US-Taliban dialogue expressing hopes that the activity would be fruitful. "But the threat of this remains".