Delegates from the Afghan republic’s negotiating team said an agreement on the procedural rules of the negotiations might be reached within the next two days.
The two sides have agreed on 18 out of 20 articles for the procedural rules, but two main articles—religious basis for the talks and connection of the US-Taliban deal with the negotiations—remain unsolved. The Taliban insists that if a dispute emerges during the negotiations, the solution must be sought using the Hanafi jurisprudence and that the foundation for the talks should be the peace deal that the group signed with the US in late February. But the Afghan republic's team has rejected the Taliban’s demands and has suggested some alternatives.
Sources said on Monday that the US peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad met with negotiation teams from the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban on Sunday to end the deadlock of Afghanistan’s negotiations.
TOLOnews reporter Karim Amini also said: “Today there may not be a meeting between the two teams, but there is optimism that meetings will resume in coming days.”
The peace negotiations between negotiating teams from the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban started on September 12; however, so far, direct talks have not started because of disagreements on procedural rules for the negotiations.
Two weeks ago, Khalilzad landed in Doha, causing speculation that his mission was to mediate between the two sides. But Khalilzad himself said that he traveled to Doha for the purpose of implementing the US-Taliban peace agreement and to assist in attempts to reduce violence.
The Taliban has not commented on resuming the contact groups meetings.
“The contact groups negotiations will potentially resume tonight (Monday),” said Ghulam Farooq Majroh, a delegate from Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. “We will make efforts to agree on a procedure that will ease the negotiations. We hope to expedite the process and address the demand of the war-hit Afghans and we also hope to see flexibility from the other side.”
More suggestions have been put on the table to overcome the rift between the two teams, which include the religious basis for the talks and the connection of the US-Taliban deal with the negotiations.
One of the suggestions, sources from Qatar said, is adding the US Security Council Resolution to the talks along with the US-Taliban deal to be part of the procedures of the negotiations. The resolution does not recognize the Islamic emirate of the Taliban and has mentioned the republic as the government in Afghanistan.
Another option is to remove the two disputed points from the procedural rules for the negotiations.
“There isn’t any problem in the process that doesn’t have a solution. There is a need to work on the mechanisms and agree on one and begin formal negotiations,” said Sharifa Zurmati, member of the republic’s negotiating team.
“Breaking the deadlock in the ongoing talks in Qatar has three solutions: First, more cooperation should be done with Americans to ease their (Taliban’s) stance. The second solution goes through Islamabad and you can work diplomatically with Islamabad to put pressure on the Taliban. The third solution goes through the battlefield,” said Idris Rahmani, a US-based analyst.
The Doha talks were inaugurated one month ago on September 12 with the hope of ending of decades of war in the country. So far, the contact groups of the two sides—a small set up to discuss procedural rules—have held eight meetings. They have not held any meeting over the last 12 days, according to delegates.