As the US and the Taliban begin a new round of talks in Doha – which a Taliban spokesman says are focused on signing the deal – Palace spokesman Sediq Sediqqi on Saturday said, "all allies" of the Afghan government, as well as the "people of Afghanistan," are "insisting on a ceasefire" before the next step in the peace process.
In this latest round of peace talks in Qatar, the Taliban has reportedly agreed to a reduction in violence for a 10-day period which means the group will not carry out attacks in urban areas, sources close to the meetings say.
Addressing a press conference in Kabul on Saturday, Sediqqi said talks are underway between US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad’s team and the Taliban negotiators, but there has been "no progress so far," referring specifically to discussions about a ceasefire or reduction in violence.
Sediqqi said that ending the war and bringing peace to the country are priorities of the government of Afghanistan and “the president and the people of Afghanistan have always insisted on a ceasefire.”
Sediqqi reiterated that the people should see a ceasefire because it is the "most important demand of Afghans."
Sediqqi said the Afghan government hoped that the Taliban would have returned from Quetta having accepted the call for a ceasefire in order to move towards a dignified peace.
Sediqqi reiterated that President Ghani and President Trump, during their meeting in Bagram late in November last year, "agreed" that a ceasefire should be a precondition for intra-Afghan negotiations.
Repeating his previous comments, Sediqqi said that reduction in violence “is not practical” and “we hope that the Taliban will end violence as it will lead them nowhere.”
The Taliban "should accept a ceasefire if they are really interested in peace," as it is the "demand of the people of Afghanistan," he said.
The process will "not achieve any results without the role of the Afghan government,” Sediqqi said, recalling the pause in the peace talks in Doha last year in September. “Peace is ours, we should remain involved.”