The US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad on Monday night said “tragically, the war continues” in Afghanistan and “the need for a political settlement, reduction in violence, and a ceasefire remain urgent.”
“Given how much is at stake, it is imperative that there are no delays in resumption of talks, and they must resume on Jan 5 as agreed,” Khalilzad in a tweet.
His remarks come as the Afghan government and the Taliban and their representatives in Doha mutually agreed on a three-week break starting Monday.
The two sides have been engaged in Doha, Qatar, since September and paused the process for internal consultations ahead of their return to the table on January 5.
On Monday, Khalilzad visited Pakistan where he held a meeting with the country’s Chief of the Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa. He was accompanied by US and NATO forces commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Scott Miller.
The Pakistani military said in a post-meeting statement that the two sides discussed regional security and the ongoing Afghan reconciliation process.
The statement said Bajwa “assured” the US delegation that Pakistan will continue to play its “positive role” in promoting peace and stability in the region.
The Demands for the Agenda made by Both Sides:
TOLOnews has seen the drafts of demands exchanged between peace negotiators in Doha for the agenda of the talks.
The documents show that the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan’s team has added ceasefire, the preservation of national sovereignty, the freedom of the media and the prohibition of activity by foreign fighters in Afghanistan as issues to be added to the agenda of the talks.
Other demands of the republic’s team include cutting-off the interference of foreigners, ensuring victims’ rights, national reconciliation, a move to de-militarize villages, de-militarize the people and society, ensure the freedom of the media, attain economic self-reliance, and prevent the processing and smuggling of drugs.
Also listed was the protection of borders, urgent development and humanitarian relief, mechanisms of implementing the agreements of the negotiations, the political roadmap, the return of refugees, gaining international guarantees, and empowering of national institutions.
“The world has not voted for just any kind of peace. Their vote was for a peace with dignity and for a permanent peace in which the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is saved with all its values and achievements,” Foreign Minister Mohammad Haneef Atmar said at the parliament on Monday.
The Taliban’s demands for the agenda include an Islamic government structure, establishment of an Islamic council, and ensuring women’s rights and the rights of all citizens based on Islamic principles.
Other demands of the Taliban are about the type of the government, the leadership, the military and security sector, the constitution, foreign policy, adopting policies based on developed international norms considering Islamic principles and national values, ensuring the independence of Afghanistan, ensuring unity and Islamic solidarity in Afghanistan, staying committed to national interests, ensuring national values, education and basic human rights, ensuring compensation for widows and orphans, ensuring all legitimate and principled rights.
“The pause in the negotiations is not favorable for the nation,” former Taliban member Sayed Akbar Agha said. “I think that in these talks the Taliban will set priorities for a future government.”
Both sides of the negotiations have exchanged their lists of demands and now have 23 days to discuss it internally with their respective leaders.