Critics have suggested that a mediator might be needed in the negotiations, as the contact groups of both sides of the Afghan peace talks have discussed the rules many times over the last 20 days but have not reached an agreement.
The procedural rules for the negotiations have over 20 articles. The two sides have agreed on 18 of them. According to negotiators from both sides, two articles are still disputed: theIm foundational religious jurisprudence for the talks, and the recognition of February's US-Taliban deal as the overarching authority to which these Afghan peace negotiations are subject.
The last time the contact groups of both sides of the peace negotiations met was Monday evening. The meeting lasted for hours but could not achieve an agreement on the rules and regulations, according to negotiators.
“It seems that a mediator will be needed in the future if we want to give speed to the negotiations,” former presidential adviser Torek Farhadi said.
The Taliban did not comment on the possibility of-- or need for--a mediator, but their spokesman Mohammad Naeem in a video posted on a website of the group on Tuesday said that agreement has been reached on a majority of the articles.
are underway, and we hope that the issues are resolved,” he said.
“We have a mediator right now, but we don’t have a third party in the negotiations room,” Afghan negotiator Rasul Talib said.
“The national and religious values that we are committed to are very important for us. We are ready to better conduct the negotiations with patience,” said Afghan negotiator Farooq Majroh.
Abdullah Abdullah, head of the High Council for National Reconciliation, who is on a three-day visit to Islamabad, said on Tuesday that he hopes the negotiations in Doha are started soon and that the opportunity should not be missed.
“The current talks offer the best hope. To put the war behind us using patience, dialogue and compromise is to agree to unite the country,” Abdullah said at the Strategic Studies Institute in Islamabad. “We cannot achieve our aspirations without support from our people and the region, and the further strengthening of our bilateral relations will help us to achieve peace.”
Abdullah Abdullah met with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and discussed the peace process among other current topics, Abdullah’s office said.
The Disputed Points
The Taliban demand recognition of the US-Taliban agreement as the 'mother deal' underlying the Afghan peace negotiations, and Hanafi Figh as the sole religious legal guidelines for the talks.
“There is a huge difference in the views between the two sides, therefore gaps and delays are common during the talks,” said Mohammad Rasoul Talib, a member of the republic's negotiating team.
Reports say that the republic's team has suggested alternatives to the Taliban’s demands.
The republic's team has proposed that if a religious issue arises it can be solved based on Hanafi Figh by default, however, the Shia Personal Status Law must be respected, and the choice of religious jurisprudence should be given to other minority groups as well.
Regarding the US-Taliban agreement, the republic's team recommended four options:
First option: The terms of the US-Taliban agreement could be accepted as underlying the talks, however, the terms of the joint declaration between the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, NATO and the US should also be accepted as applicable.
Second option: Neither the US-Taliban agreement nor the declarations of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan with the US and NATO will be recognized as having any authority, and the negotiations will move forward based on the decisions of the consultative Loya Jirga and the Jirga's declarations.
Third option: Both sides start talks "based on the national interest of Afghanistan."
Fourth option: The Quran and Hadith are the main authority for the talks, replacing all others.
The Taliban insist that talking about the Jafari Figh under current circumstances is not logical but said that this can be discussed during the talks about the Constitution of the country.