• publish: 17 July 2021
  • time: 3:42 pm
  • category: Politics
  • No: 18306
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Qatar-mediated Afghan peace talks begin in Doha

Representatives of the Afghan government and the Taliban met in Doha for talks on Saturday as violence rages in the country with foreign forces almost entirely withdrawn.

Read more: https://www.digitaljournal.com/world/kabul-taliban-negotiators-meet-in-qatar-as-afghan-fighting-rages/article#ixzz70s90XITt

The two sides have been meeting on and off for months in the Qatari capital, but the talks have lost momentum as the insurgents have made battlefield gains.

Several high-ranking officials, including former president Hamid Karzai and former chief executive Abdullah Abdullah, gathered in a luxury hotel on Saturday after morning prayers.

They were joined by negotiators from the Taliban’s political office in Doha.

“The high level delegation is here to talk to both sides, guide them and support the (government) negotiating team in terms of speeding up the talks and have progress,” said Najia Anwari, the spokeswoman for the Afghan government negotiating team in Doha.

“We expect that it (will) speed the talks and… in a short time, both sides will reach a result and we will witness a durable and dignified peace in Afghanistan,” she said.

Ready for dialogue

The Taliban have capitalised on the last stages of the withdrawal of US and other foreign troops from Afghanistan to launch a series of lightning offensives across the country.

“We are ready for dialogue, for talks and negotiations, and our priority is to solve the problems through dialogue,” Taliban spokesman Muhamad Naeem told the Al Jazeera broadcaster ahead of Saturday’s talks.

“The other side must have a true and sincere will to end the problems.”

Talks between the government and the Taliban side led by Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar began with Koranic recitations, Naeem tweeted Saturday.

Afghan forces clashed Friday with Taliban fighters in Spin Boldak after launching an operation to retake the key southern border crossing with Pakistan.

The Taliban have also tightened their grip in the north, and battled for the stronghold of an infamous warlord.

The battle at the southern border follows weeks of intensifying fighting across Afghanistan, with the Taliban pressing multiple offensives and overrunning dozens of districts at a staggering rate.

Taliban onslaught

As fighting raged over large swathes of Afghanistan, a war of words was also heating up between Kabul and Islamabad, after the Afghan vice president accused the Pakistani military of providing “close air support to Taliban in certain areas”.

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