The Presidential Palace said the preparations for the intra-Afghan negotiations are being finalized and that the delay is due to preparations still being made by the Taliban’s negotiating team. The Palace also said that the technical problems it previously faced have been resolved.
Sources said the delay is due to issues within the leadership of the Taliban’s negotiating team, but added that demands are being made on both sides.
The Taliban recently announced a 21-member negotiating team led by the group's chief justice, Mawlawi Abdul Hakim, with former chief negotiator Abbas Stanekzai now serving as Hakim's deputy.
“Technical issues and preparations are almost complete. We hope that the Taliban also finishes their preparations so that our delegation can travel (to Doha),” said Sediq Sediqqi, presidential spokesman.
Abdul Hafiz Mansoor, a member of the government negotiating team, said they are fully prepared for the talks.
“We have no problems. Everyone is ready for the trip. We have been waiting for the flight for the past few days, but we are told repeatedly that the Taliban’s delegation in Qatar is not ready,” Mansoor said.
“Changes in the management of the delegation creates problems, and those who have come recently need time to learn the agenda of the talks,” Zaland said.
A source familiar with the matter said that a ceasefire and possible demands for an interim government are the main challenges in the way of the talks.
However, Fraidoon Khwazoon, a spokesman for High Council for National Reconciliation, said: “The head of the High Council for National Reconciliation held talks with the NATO senior civilian representative, the UN special envoy, the EU envoy and the Russian ambassador and discussed the peace process.”
“The United States has a role in war and peace in Afghanistan. We hope that the US with its political influence and military power convinces the regional countries that peace should come to Afghanistan,” former interior minister Wais Barmak said.
This comes as the European Union in a joint statement with the Canadian embassy in Kabul called for a swift start to the intra-Afghan negotiations.
“We note the recent positive momentum and urge all Afghan political forces to resolutely seize the historic opportunity for a lasting peace and call for the start of direct intra-Afghan negotiations without further delay,” the EU said in the statement.