Negotiators from both sides of the Afghan negotiations have conflicting accounts about the reports of recent progress in their discussions.
This comes a day after the Taliban’s spokesman in Doha, Mohammad Naeem, said that negotiators from both sides on November 15 agreed on procedural rules with 21 items for the intra-Afghan talks and it was read out in Pashto and Dari & a copy was delivered to the host nation.
The republic’s team have said that the procedural rules are still not finalized and the preface needs more explanation.
Sources familiar with the talks in Doha said that the Afghan government insists that the position of the Loya Jirga be taken as a foundation of the talks along with the US-Taliban peace agreement. But the Taliban has rejected the demand.
“The procedure of Intra-Afghan negotiations between the negotiating teams was completed and finalized in 21 articles on the 15th of November 2020,” tweeted Mohammad Naeem, a spokesman for the Taliban.
The peace negotiations between teams from the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban started on September 12; however, to date no direct talks have started because of disagreements on procedural rules for the negotiations.
“The delegation of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is there with full authority in hand. The foundation of the talks are the Constitution of Afghanistan and the proposals made by the Consultative Loya Jirga on Peace,” said Dawa Khan Menapal, a deputy spokesman to President Ashraf Ghani.
“The more disagreements are deepened among us, the more the position of the republic's delegation becomes weak, then the doubt of the people changes into certainty and they think that interest of prolonging power is what is at work,” said Rahmatullah Nabil, the former head of National Directorate of Security (NDS).
“The Afghan team in Doha has expressed concerns over the Taliban’s statement, they also complained to the Qatar govt that such statements should be expressed after an agreement,” said Sami Yousufzai, a freelance journalist in Doha.
Sources close to the Taliban have said that a continued disagreement could push the talks into a stalemate.
“This will lead to a deadlock in the talks, this will also increase the war,” said Faiz Mohammad Zaland, a university lecturer.
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.