The Taliban leaders have agreed on a short-term ceasefire, said a source close to the talks.
The date for the signing of a peace agreement between the US and the Taliban will be announced within the next few days and then both sides will start discussions about intra-Afghan talks, said the source.
During the forthcoming round of talks between the US and the Taliban, both sides will establish a timeline for signing the peace agreement and starting the intra-Afghan talks, according to the source.
“The ceasefire has two components: The first component is to announce a ceasefire before signing an agreement with the US. The second part is about a nationwide agreement both with Afghans and the foreigners. I think the Taliban have not agreed on the first component,” said Sayed Akbar Agha, a former Taliban commander.
The International Crisis Group in a report released on Friday listed Afghanistan among ten conflict-ridden countries whose fate will be influenced by the behavior of world powers, for whom “conflict prevention or resolution carries scant inherent value.”
In the case of the US, the ICG report said: “Washington is both eager to retain the benefits of its leadership and unwilling to shoulder the burdens of carrying it. As a consequence, it is guilty of the cardinal sin of any great power: allowing the gap between ends and means to grow. These days, neither friend nor foe knows quite where America stands.”
The report said that the current US-Taliban agreement is only the beginning of a “long road,” but “almost certainly” is the “only hope” of calming the war.
“A U.S.-Taliban agreement would mark only the beginning of a long road to a settlement among Afghans, which is a prerequisite for peace. But it almost certainly offers the only hope of calming today’s deadliest war,” the group said in its report.
The report also stated that the timetable for US troop withdrawal should be coordinated with the intra-Afghan talks:
“Any deal should pave the way for talks among Afghans, which means tying the pace of the US troop withdrawal not only to counter-terrorism goals but also to the Taliban’s good-faith participation in talks with the Afghan government and other powerful Afghan leaders.”
Pakistan’s ambassador to Kabul, Zahid Nasrullah Khan, said that his country hopes that the agreement between the US and the Taliban lead to a ceasefire so that there is an intra-Afghan dialogue.
Representatives from some of Afghanistan’s political parties said that discussions have started between the parties about the creation of an inclusive peace negotiating team.
Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah meanwhile said that the way to Peace is talks with Afghan representatives.
“A dignified peace is the demand of an absolute majority of the people of Afghanistan. Any opportunity in this respect should be used,” Abdullah said.
“We hope that there is an inclusive and comprehensive peace delegation. But if someday we face some narrow-minded perceptions towards peace that we also saw it in the past, then, of course, the political parties, in light of the situation in Afghanistan, will not allow the opportunity to be lost,” said Mohammad Karim Khalili, head of the High Peace Council.
On December 19, the US peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad said that the US and Taliban were approaching an important stage in the Afghan peace process.