Taliban Ready to Resume Intra-Afghan Talks in Doha: Spokesman

As prospects for the resumption of peace talks between the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban remain vague, a spokesman for the Taliban on Monday said that the group was ready to resume intra-Afghan talks in Doha—but gave no details about when the talks would start again.

“We are conducting regular meetings, the contact has not been cut off, we are ready for the talks to move forward,” said Mohammad Naeem, a spokesman for the Taliban in Doha.

“America has told the Taliban that they have raised the issue of their prisoners with the Afghan government and the issue will be solved and you (Taliban) should resume the talks,” said Mawlavi Qalamuddin, a former Taliban member.

“Whatever the Taliban want to say they should come and raise it at the peace negotiation table and we welcome that,” said Faraidoon Khawzon, a spokesman for the High Council of National Reconciliation (HCNR).

Last week negotiators from the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban held brief talks in Doha after a month’s delay.

The Taliban had previously said that they will not participate in any talks until the US forces leave the country by May 1.

Under the US-Taliban peace deal signed in Doha last February, the US committed to leave the country by May 1, but US President Joe Biden extended the pullout deadline to September 11, 2021.

“We initiated the talks with commitment and seriousness and we are still prepared for negotiations,” said Ghulam Farooq Majroh, a member of the peace negotiating team representing the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in the talks with the Taliban.

The negotiating teams met in Doha on May 14 after a long pause. Sources familiar with the meeting said the Taliban has asked to maintain the Doha negotiations–with serious discussions– but they want the final outcome to be achieved in Doha, not in Istanbul.

The Republic team said that efforts in Doha and Istanbul will help achieve results in the negotiations, but they stressed that the Taliban’s commitment is key.

The negotiations in Doha were stalled after the announcement of a delay in the US forces withdrawal in Afghanistan from the original May 1st deadline.