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Doha: Direct Talks Still Pending 22 Days In

Direct talks between negotiating teams representing the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban have yet to begin, 22 days after the opening ceremony,  despite several preliminary meetings between the two sides. 

The negotiating teams of both sides of the peace negotiations have held seven contact group meetings, but could not agree on two disputed points.  

The contact groups have not held any meetings for the last six days, according to TOLOnews’ Karim Amini who reports on the talks from Doha.

The Taliban demand recognition of the US-Taliban agreement as the 'mother deal' underlying the Afghan peace negotiations, and Hanafi jurisprudence as the sole religious legal guidelines for the talks.   

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 jurisprudence 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 jurisprudence under current circumstances is not logical but said that this can be discussed during the talks about the Constitution of the country.   

Amid the delay in the talks, diplomatic efforts by Afghanistan’s allies have started as US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad was in Doha last week and met with negotiating teams of the two sides.  

Meanwhile, NATO’s Senior Civilian Representative, Stefano Pontecorvo, also held talks with chief negotiator Masoom Stanekzai and discussed the peace process. 

This comes as Abdullah Abdullah, chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation, will visit India on October 6, his spokesman Fraidoon Khwazoon confirmed.

“The aim of the trip is to attract support for the Afghan peace and strengthen regional consensus. Dr. Abdullah Abdullah will meet with Indian officials on Afghan peace and bilateral relations between Afghanistan and India,” Khwazoon said.

Last week, Abdullah also visited Pakistan and discussed the Afghan peace process with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Foreign Minister and other Pakistani officials.

Doha: Direct Talks Still Pending 22 Days In

The negotiating teams of both sides have held seven contact group meetings, but could not agree on two disputed points.

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Direct talks between negotiating teams representing the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban have yet to begin, 22 days after the opening ceremony,  despite several preliminary meetings between the two sides. 

The negotiating teams of both sides of the peace negotiations have held seven contact group meetings, but could not agree on two disputed points.  

The contact groups have not held any meetings for the last six days, according to TOLOnews’ Karim Amini who reports on the talks from Doha.

The Taliban demand recognition of the US-Taliban agreement as the 'mother deal' underlying the Afghan peace negotiations, and Hanafi jurisprudence as the sole religious legal guidelines for the talks.   

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 jurisprudence 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 jurisprudence under current circumstances is not logical but said that this can be discussed during the talks about the Constitution of the country.   

Amid the delay in the talks, diplomatic efforts by Afghanistan’s allies have started as US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad was in Doha last week and met with negotiating teams of the two sides.  

Meanwhile, NATO’s Senior Civilian Representative, Stefano Pontecorvo, also held talks with chief negotiator Masoom Stanekzai and discussed the peace process. 

This comes as Abdullah Abdullah, chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation, will visit India on October 6, his spokesman Fraidoon Khwazoon confirmed.

“The aim of the trip is to attract support for the Afghan peace and strengthen regional consensus. Dr. Abdullah Abdullah will meet with Indian officials on Afghan peace and bilateral relations between Afghanistan and India,” Khwazoon said.

Last week, Abdullah also visited Pakistan and discussed the Afghan peace process with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Foreign Minister and other Pakistani officials.

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