Delegates from the Afghan negotiating team at the first intra-Afghan talks ongoing in Doha have said that an agreement on the procedural rules between the Afghstan government and Taliban could be reached within the next two days.
According to Tolo News, the two sides have agreed upon 18 out of the 20 procedural rules. However, two main articles, which are based on a religious basis for the talks and connection of the US-Taliban deal with the negotiations, are currently unresolved.
Tolo News further reported that the Taliban insisted that in case a dispute emerges during the negotiations, the solution must be sought using the Hanafi jurisprudence and the foundation of the talks must be based on the deal the Taliban signed with the US in February. The Afghan government's team rejected the demands and gave alternate suggestions.
Sources say that US peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad met with the negotiating teams of both the parties to "end the deadlock of the negotiations.
The peace negotiations between the two teams commenced on September 12, however, direct talks have not started because of disagreement on procedural rules of the negotiations.
Khalilzad landed in Doha two weeks ago but not to mediate between the two sides but for the purpose of implementing the US-Taliban peace agreements and to assist in attempts to reduce violence.
There have been no comments from the Taliban side on the resumption of contact group meetings.
"The contact groups negotiations will potentially resume tonight (Monday)," said Ghulam Farooq Majroh, a delegate from the Islamic Republic of Afghstan, quoted Tolo News. "We will make efforts to agree on a procedure that will ease the negotiations. We hope to expedite the process and address the demand of the war-hit Afghans and we also hope to see flexibility from the other side."
More suggestions were put to the table to overcome the rift between both parties. According to sources from Qatar, one of the suggestions has been to add the US Security Council Resolution to the talks with the US-Taliban deal to be part of the procedure of the negotiations. The resolution "does not recognize" the Islamic Emirate of the Taliban and has mentioned the republic as the Afghan government.
The other option included removing the two disputed points from the procedural rules for the negotiations.
"There isn't any problem in the process that doesn't have a solution. There is a need to work on the mechsms and agree on one and begin formal negotiations," said Sharifa Zurmati, member of the republic's negotiating team, as quoted by Tolo News.
Idris Rahm, a US-based analyst, said, "Breaking the deadlock in the ongoing talks in Qatar has three solutions: First, more cooperation should be done with Americans to ease their (Taliban's) stance. The second solution goes through Islamabad and you can work diplomatically with Islamabad to put pressure on the Taliban. The third solution goes through the battlefield."
The Doha talks -- with the hope of ending the war in Afghstan -- commenced on September 12 and so far the contact groups from both sides have held eight meetings to discuss procedural rules. However, no meetings have been held in the last 12 days, according to delegates.
( With inputs from ANI )
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