Eight to 10 members of the Republic’s negotiating team are expected to travel to Doha within the next two days to resume the stalled negotiations; however, a top negotiator said the talks with the Taliban should not be expected to yield results in months or even another year.
Their trip comes after two meetings with Abdullah Abdullah, head of the High Council for National Reconciliation. It also follows two meetings of Republic negotiators with the Taliban delegation in Doha, including one meeting with their deputy leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, who for the first time met with negotiators on May 13, the first day of Eid.
The Taliban has recently signaled a willingness to resume the stalled talks with Republic negotiators.
“Some of us will leave (for Doha) on Monday or Tuesday and then all the delegation will be there,” Republic negotiator Nader Nadery said. “Ensuring peace, making an effort to end the war and to establish a common future within the bounds of the Afghan achievements of the last years is a priority for the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and for its people and government.”
The Republic team believes that the Taliban will not be ready for meaningful participation in the upcoming Turkey conference and therefore the talks in Doha might take more time than expected.
“It would be too soon to expect a result in one month, two months, six months, or a year--same as other peace processes,” Nadery said.
The remarks on the Doha talks come a day after National Security Adviser Hamdullah Mohib said that according to intelligence information, Taliban leader Mullah Hibatullah has been “missing” for the last 12 months. The Taliban has denied this statement, calling it baseless and saying the group is ready for the continuation of talks in Doha.
“There has been no news about Hibatullah for the last 12 months. The Taliban themselves have not heard anything from him for the last 12 months,” Mohib said.
“We hope that the Taliban agrees on peace. There is no more excuse for war. Foreign forces are leaving,” said Zabihullah Mujaddedi, the leader of Jabha-e-Nejat-e-Milli (Afghan National Liberation Front).
The negotiations in Doha faced continued delays after the announcement of US President Joe Biden to withdraw all his troops from the country by Sept. 11, extending the May 1 deadline that was agreed upon in the US-Taliban agreement. But the two meetings of the negotiators this month created hope on the Republic side for a renewed peace process.