The venue and time of the start of intra-Afghan talks will be finalized after the completion of the prisoners swap between the Afghan government and the Taliban, the State Ministry on Peace Affairs said on Saturday.
“With the completion of the prisoners swap between the two sides and a halt in the violence, arrangements will be made for the venue and date of intra-Afghan talks,” said Najia Anwari, a spokeswoman for the State Ministry on Peace Affairs.
But, a former senior Taliban leader in Kabul, Jalaluddin Shinwari, has said that the intra-Afghan talks have been delayed due to the emergence of mistrust between the Afghan government and the Taliban.
“There has been mistrust between the government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and (the Talban) and this has resulted in the suspension of intra-Afghan talks during the current week,” said Jalaluddin Shinwari, attorney general during the Taliban regime.
While a reduction in violence by the Taliban is considered a precursor of a swift start of the intra-Afghan talks, there are widespread reports of deadly battles between the Afghan National Security and Defense Forces (ANDSF) and the Taliban outfits in various regions across the nation.
In a latest sign of escalating violence, two commanders in the Afghan security forces were killed in a Taliban attack on Friday night in Helmand province in the south of Afghanistan amid an unannounced truce between the two sides and while peace efforts by the Afghan government and its allies are underway.
Reports say that 9 Taliban fighters have also been killed during the firefights with ANDSF in Helmand and Logar provinces.
In another incident, three Afghan security force members were killed as a result of a roadside mine in Kohsan district of Herat on Friday night.
On Friday, Afghan forces displayed dozens of weapons and motorcycles they seized from the Taliban in Paktia province after the Taliban launched a coordinated attack on Afghan forces in Sari-roza district of the province.
“Our brave police defused five land mines. They also seized suicide vests used by the suicide attackers, but the attackers had fled the area and left their suicide vests behind, we exploded those vests,” said Nisar Ahmad Abdul Rahimzai, the commander of Paktika police.
On Friday night, Afghan forces also engaged in armed confrontation with the Taliban fighters in Logar province.
Under the US-Taliban peace agreement that was signed between the sides in Doha on February 29, the Taliban demanded the release of 5,000 of its detainees in the Afghan government jails as part of efforts for the intra-Afghan talks.
This comes after last week Ghani said that the venue and timeline of intra-Afghan talks will be clarified soon.
This comes a day after the Pakistani Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Mohammad Sadiq met the Taliban senior leaders in Doha where they discussed Afghan peace.
“Pakistan’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, Sadiq, visited Doha, Qatar on June 16-17, 2020 where he met Taliban leaders including Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and discussed peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan,” Pakistani Foreign Ministry said on Friday.
"The SR underlined that Pakistan will continue to play its role as facilitator for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan, " and referred to the "highly productive visit of the Chief of Army Staff to Kabul recently, which had imparted a new impetus to Pakistan’s efforts..