Three Taliban negotiators who talked to TOLOnews at the opening ceremony of intra-Afghan negotiations on Sept. 12 expressed optimism about the results of the negotiations and called the start a big achievement but insisted on an Islamic government as an outcome of the talks.
The negotiations are hosted by Doha. Various media interviews with negotiators of the two sides have revealed initial differences in views of the delegates on some certain matters, including the future and current government, as well as women’s rights and other relevant topics.
“We have sent the message to the people that we Afghans have reached the point of sitting together and it is a big development,” Taliban negotiator Suhail Shaheen said.
“(We want) a government in which the Holy Quran is ruling, the hadith of the messenger is ruling, the Hanafi school is there, and the occupation is over,” said Mawlawi Abdul Kabir, a member of Taliban’s negotiating team.
But other negotiators of the Taliban said the future government will be discussed at the table of the negotiations.
“The delegates assigned by the Afghan nation can agree on a framework to establish a government,” said Khairullah Khairkhwah, a Taliban negotiator.
A Closer Look at the Taliban Team
For the first time since the collapse of the Taliban regime in 2001, a delegation from the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and another from the Taliban on Saturday met in Doha to begin peace talks that are aimed at bringing the country out of the deadly conflict.
But who are the members of the 21-member Taliban delegation?
Most of the members have religious education backgrounds and are very influential among the Taliban. Some of the members spent years in the US's Guantanamo detention center.
Anas Haqqani, 26, is the youngest member on the peace negotiating team.
1. Mawlavi Abdul Hakim Haqqani, 63, is leading the Taliban’s negotiating team. He is a native of Maiwand district of Kandahar province in southern Afghanistan. He is counted among the founding members of the Taliban and was a close aid to the Taliban’s founding leader Mullah Omar. He has served in the high ranks of the Taliban and as a chief judge in the group.
2. Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai is serving as the deputy of the Taliban’s political office in Doha. Stanekzai is 61 years old and a native of Baraki Barak district of Logar province. He received military education in India and has worked as deputy minister of foreign affairs in the Taliban’s regime.
3. Mohammad Fazel Mazloom, 54, is a native of Uruzgan province. He was imprisoned in Guantanamo from late 2002 to 2014. He served as the deputy minister of defense and chief of army staff in the Taliban regime.
4. Abdul Salam Hanafi, 51, is from Qoshtepa district of Jawzajan province.
5. Abdul Manan Omari is the brother of the Taliban’s founding leader Mullah Omar. He served in the Taliban’s complaints commission dealing with civilian casualties.
6. Mawlavi Abdul Kabir, 48, is a resident of Nahrain district of Baghlan and and served as the governor of Nangarhar province during the Taliban regime.
7. Amir Khan Mutaqi has become a famous personality over the past several years. He is 50 years old and was born in Nad-e-Ali district of Helmand province. He served as minister of information and culture in the Taliban regime.
8. Noorullah Noori is from Shajoy district of Zabul province. He is 49 years old and served as the governor of Laghman. He spent 12 years in Guantanamo.
9. Din Mohammad Hanif, 57, was born in Yaftal district of Badakhshan. He is a member of the Taliban’s political office in Doha and is focused on the Taliban’s relations with Central Asia.
10. Abdul Latif Mansour was born in Zurmat district of Paktia. He is 53 years old. He served as minister of agriculture in the Taliban’s regime.
11 Abdullah Hanafi, known as Mullah Shireen Akhund, is from Kandahar province. He was assigned to provide security at the residence of the late Mullah Omar.
12 Mawlavi Mohammad Qasim is from Faiz Abad district of Jawzjan province. He is 49 years old. He has received a religious education and has worked for Taliban in the northern Afghanistan.
13. Fariduddin Mahmood was born in Paktika province and received an education at Darul-Olum Haqqania. He served as deputy head of the academy of science during the Taliban regime.
14. Matiulhaq Khales was born in the Khogyani district of Nangarhar. He is 59 years old. He has also received a religious education and was a member of the Taliban negotiating team in the talks with the US.
15. Mullah Khairullah Khairkhaw is a resident of Arghistan district of Kandahar province. He served as the minister of the interior during the Taliban regime. He was arrested in 2002 and transferred to Guantanamo.
16. Shahabuddin Delawar was born in Pul-e-Alam city of Logar province. He is 58 years old. He served as ambassador to Pakistan and Saudi Arabia during the Taliban regime.
17. Abdul Haq Wasiq was born in Khogyani district of Ghazni province. He has received a religious education. Wasiq spent 12 years in Guantanamo.
18. Mohammad Nabi Omar is a resident of Ismailkhel district of Khost province. He is 49 years old. He also spend time in Guantanamo and was a member of the Taliban’s negotiating team in talks with US.
19. Mohammad Suhail Shaheen belongs to Ahmad Abad district of Paktia province. He graduated from the English department of Kabul University and has obtained a degree in journalism.
20. Mohammad Anas Haqqani, 26, is the youngest member of the Taliban negotiating team. He was born in Paktia province. He was released last year from prison in exchange for two foreign professors teaching at the American University of Afghanistan. He speaks several languages.
21. Dr. Mohammad Naeem was born in Chak district of Maidan Wardak. He is 46 years old. He has served as a member of the Taliban’s political office for the last decade and was recently appointed as the Taliban’s spokesman.