With Pakistan’s help, Afghan peace talks to restart in Doha


Shafaqna Pakistan:Three months after President Donald Trump abruptly called off peace talks with the Afghan Taliban, the United States is all set to resume the dialogue process with the insurgent groups in Doha later this week.

The development came as US chief negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad, on his way to Doha, made a surprise stopover in Kabul on Wednesday to take the Afghan government into confidence over Washington’s decision to restart the stalled peace process.

A statement issued by the US State Department said Khalilzad’s visit to Kabul was a follow up on President Trump’s recent visit to Afghanistan and to discuss the way forward in already accelerated efforts to get all parties to the intra-Afghan negotiations.

“In Doha, Ambassador Khalilzad will rejoin talks with the Taliban to discuss steps that could lead to intra-Afghan negotiations and a peaceful settlement of the war, specifically a reduction in violence that leads to a ceasefire,” the statement added.

The resumption of talks was on the cards since the US and Taliban have been talking to each other informally. Pakistan is believed to have played a key part in persuading the two sides to restart the process.

In September, the two sides were close to signing a peace deal but Trump pulled out of the process at the last minute citing Taliban’s continued attacks targeting the American soldiers.

Before pulling the plug, Trump was scheduled to hold a secret meeting with the Afghan Taliban delegation at the Camp David. He, however, cancelled what would have been unprecedented meeting just on the eve of anniversary of 9/11 attacks, which Washington said planned and originated from Afghanistan.

The reason Trump had a second thought of signing peace deal was the criticism he faced both at home and even from the Afghan government that the Taliban had offered little concessions in return of US agreeing to withdraw troops.

The draft agreement was to deal with the timeline of US troops withdrawal while a commitment from the Taliban of not allowing the Afghan soil to be used by terrorist groups against other countries.