The US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad on Wednesday met with senior Taliban members in Doha including the group’s deputy leader Abdul Ghani Baradar and the two sides discussed issues around the implementation of US-Taliban peace agreement and the release of remaining prisoners, said Taliban spokesman Mohammad Naeem.
He said they also discussed the termination of the blacklist, the causes of the increase in the level of violence.
But, an Afghan government spokesman said that the Taliban’s demand for release of more prisoners has no importance for it.
“What the Taliban has said and showed in action have weakened the peace process," presidential spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said. "The continuation of violence and expressing strange statements and even raising the issue of prisoners itself creates barriers for peace."
The Afghan government has released 5,600 Taliban prisoners as part of conditions ahead of the peace negotiations.
“The Afghan government as part of its commitments to the world and the US, released over 5,000 Taliban prisoners, but the Taliban who signed the agreement with the US is not committed to the contents of the agreement,” said Fazel Hadi Muslimyar, speaker of the Meshrano Jirga (upper house of parliament).
This comes as Khalilzad on Tuesday said he returned to the region “disappointed” that despite commitments to lower violence, it has not happened, referring to a recent surge in Taliban attacks as well as civilian and Afghan forces casualties in the country.
“Too many Afghans are dying, Khalilzad said, reiterating that “the sides urgently need an agreement on a reduction of violence leading to a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire.”
Khalilzad reiterated that “the window to achieve a political settlement will not stay open forever,” adding that “intransigence and a refusal to abandon animosity, embrace fellow citizens, and agree on a formula for political cooperation/competition underpin the ongoing war.”
“We should not let the blood of the sons of this country is shed more than this, we should not allow others to do their business on our blood, honor and dignity,” said Salahuddin Rabbani, chairman Jamiat-e-Islami Afghanistan.
This comes as negotiators from the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban are in Doha where they are trying to bridge gaps on some contested topics and procedural rules intended for the formal talks.