US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad says he had “more productive” meetings than in the past in Qatar as he left Doha on Saturday to visit Kabul for “consultations”.
“Meetings here were more productive than they have been in the past. We made significant progress on vital issues,” he said in a tweet on Saturday night.
Khalilzad said he made “significant progress on vital issues”.
He said that “we have a number of issues left to work out”.
Sources said that some agreements were made during the talks.
However, Khalilzad indirectly said that nothing was agreed on during the talks.
“Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed, and “everything” must include an intra-Afghan dialogue and comprehensive ceasefire," he said in a tweet.
Khalilzad said he will resume the talks after a short while.
Meanwhile earlier in the day, a spokesperson for President Ashraf Ghani acknowledged that the reported agreements which sources say have been reached between US and Taliban officials in the past six days in Doha, Qatar, have not been shared with the Afghan government.
“Mr. (Zalmay Khalilzad) will share it with the Afghan government when agreements are finalized in Doha. We hope it will bring us closer (to peace talks) and we hope that we will witness peace talks,” said Fraidoon Khozoon, Ghani’s deputy spokesman.
Sources familiar with the Doha talks said that on the fifth day of the US-Taliban discussions in Qatar on Friday, US officials agreed to a troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.
The sources also said that Taliban has agreed to not let al Qaida and Daesh operate in Afghanistan.
The sources added that US officials have asked for a ceasefire, but Taliban has demanded a timeline be drawn up for the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan before agreeing to this.
Taliban said they first want to be assured by the US that there will be no threat to regional countries especially Pakistan and then a ceasefire will take place, the sources said.
In these talks, the sources said, US Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad asked Taliban to hold talks with the Afghan government and said the talks should be aimed at reforms and not a demand by the Taliban to control Afghanistan.
However, according to the sources, Taliban has not responded to this call by Khalilzad.
Based on unconfirmed reports, Taliban’s representatives will visit Kabul soon to talk with the Afghan government.
Initially scheduled for only two days, Monday and Tuesday this week, the Doha talks have continued through the week and according to sources were extended for a sixth day on Saturday.
Will the talks yield results?
“The possibility of reaching peace with the Taliban has not been as good ever (before) but the issue of the presence of other groups such as Daesh will remain. The groups will continue fighting,” said Wahid Muhzda, an analyst.
“Taliban is saying that a ceasefire should be done separately which means a ceasefire with foreigners to stop their bombardments and a ceasefire with the Afghan government; this will be agreed on in a meeting (with Afghan government) and this is a different matter,” said Sayed Akbar Agha, former Taliban.
Sources said that the Doha talks will end after the release of a joint statement which will then become an agreement between the US and Taliban.
The next step, the sources acknowledged, will be face-to-face talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban.