The negotiation team of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan has started its consultations with lawmakers as hopes remain high that the intra-Afghan talks will begin soon, despite a UN report stating an increase of Taliban attacks in Afghanistan.
The UN report, that will be presented to the United Nations Security Council this week, indicates that 5,543 security incidents happened between February 7 and May 14, a 2% increase compared with the same period from last year. The Taliban has rejected the report, saying their attacks have been reduced by 40 %.
The report says that airstrikes were reduced by 47 percent during this period.
Nader Nadery, a member of the team, said preserving the republic is a main demand of the Afghan people in the talks.
“Demands are about how to preserve the (government) system and its main pillars, like the national army and the national police,” he said.
A delay in the release of the remaining Taliban prisoners by the Afghan government is one of the reasons that have postponed the start of the intra-Afghan negotiations, according to those familiar with the issue. But another member of the negotiations team, Fawzia Kofi, said the coronavirus crisis is the main reason behind the delay.
“The rules and regulations of host countries on the prevention of the coronavirus are the main reason behind the delay in the negotiations,” Kofi said.
“We have made critical steps. A large number of Taliban prisoners were released to ensure peace and an end violence (in the country). Now is the time for the Taliban (to determine what steps) they will take in response to our attempts,” presidential spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said.
Former Taliban member Sayed Akbar Agha said the group wants the release of 5,000 prisons – which is based on the US-Taliban agreement – to begin the intra-Afghan negotiations.
“There are rifts. The Taliban wants the release of all of their prisoners, but the government says it has released 3,000 prisoners and will release more as the (peace) process continues,” he said.
This comes as the National Security Council in a statement on Sunday said that 42 civilians were killed and 105 others were wounded in “Taliban attacks” over the last week, numbers that the Taliban has rejected.