Discussions Held in Doha Over Istanbul Summit Agenda

Representatives from the UN, Turkey, Qatar and the US have met with the peace negotiating team of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in Doha and discussions were held about the agenda of the upcoming conference on Afghan peace in Istanbul.

A member of the peace negotiating team representing the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in the talks with the Taliban said that the meeting was aimed to gather views on the agenda of the upcoming meeting in Turkey.

Meanwhile, sources close to the Taliban have said that the US continues to push for a three-month extension of the May 1 deadline for US forces to leave Afghanistan.

“Representatives from the US, Turkey, Qatar and the UN are in Doha—they have started their discussions with both sides of the negotiations on the modality and agenda of the talks in Turkey,” said Ghulam Farooq Majroh, a member of the republic’s negotiating team.

On Tuesday night, the US special envoy for Afghanistan’s reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, met with senior Taliban leaders including Mullah Baradar, the head of the Taliban’s political office in Doha, to discuss provisions of the US-Taliban peace agreement, including the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan.

“Now that the US is willing to stay here, this is something that is supported by those who want to create barriers in the way of peace,” said Abdul Salam Zaeef, former Taliban ambassador to Islamabad.

While the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken recently said that the Turkey conference will be held in the new few weeks, the High Council of National Reconciliation (HCNR) has expressed concerns over the existence of multiple plans which are expected to be discussed at the conference in Turkey.

“Various factions in Afghanistan have expressed their views and perspectives about the plans, a commission under the leadership of Mr. Qanooni is working to unify these plans, we hope to attend the Turkey conference with a unified stance,” said Mujiburrahman Rahimi, media adviser to the HCNR.

Afghan politicians believe that the Turkey conference can provide a good platform for accelerating the Afghan peace process.

They say that failure in Turkey will lead to failure in Doha.

“We hope that this conference will help us form a solution so that the two warring factions are able to move with their discussions in a more serious way and we get to a settlement,” said Zabihullah Mojadadei, the head of Jabha-e-Milli Nejat party.

One of the key agendas of the talks in the Turkey conference will be the US-proposed peace plan. But sources have said that the Taliban’s leadership are still holding discussions on the US plan.