Abdullah claims Taliban responsible for the stalled peace talks

Abdullah Abdullah, Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation (HCNR) said Tuesday the Taliban has brought the intra-Afghan negotiations to a standstill in Doha, Qatar.

Addressing a meeting on the occasion of the inauguration of the HCNR’s Media and Public Awareness Commission, Abdullah stated that no negotiations have been held between the peace teams for about three weeks.

Abdullah also said no decision could be made behind the scenes, and “the Taliban can put whatever they want on the negotiating table with the I.R delegation.”

“If it is about speeding up the process [Peace process], it is our responsibility. But we are currently in a situation that although the negotiating party has not interrupted the negotiations, no negotiations are underway currently,” Abdullah pointed out.

Abdullah meanwhile also raised the issue of an interim government which has been proposed by some Afghan politicians as an alternative in order to kickstart the stalled peace talks.

He said that nowhere in the world has it been proven that peace can be maintained by merely establishing an interim government.

“Peace is not a personal issue for some people; the Taliban should sit around the negotiating table and raise their issues. A transitional government is not the goal of a desirable future that is acceptable to all,” Abdullah noted.

This comes after reports emerged about a week ago that the Taliban’s negotiating team has not fully returned to the talks tables since the three-week December break.

Some sources have stated that the Taliban is waiting to see whether the US goes through with the troops withdrawal by May 1 as per the Doha agreement before they return to the peace talks tables.

No decision has however been taken as yet regarding the troop withdrawal issue but Biden administration officials have confirmed the agreement is being reviewed.

High-ranking US officials have been briefed on the deal and on Thursday last week US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad.

“Great meeting with Ambassador Khalilzad to discuss the way forward in Afghanistan: continuing to protect the US against the threat of terrorism, achieving a just and durable political settlement there, and cementing a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire,” Blinken said in a tweet.

Biden’s Administration has retained Khalilzad, who has for the past two years been the driving force behind the Afghan peace process, to continue the Afghan peace mission.

In a series of tweets, Khalilzad stated that he has briefed Blinken on the Afghanistan peace process “in the context of our continuing policy review.”

“We discussed the focus on our conditions-based strategy, one that brings peace to Afghanistan, secures a stable future for its citizens, and prevents anyone from using Afghanistan to threaten the United States and our allies,” Khalilzad said.