Members of the Taliban’s leadership are meeting the group’s top leader Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada in the Pakistani city of Quetta and they are discussing a potential ceasefire with the US, sources familiar with the talks said on Wednesday.
A delegation from the Taliban’s office in Doha is also participating at the meeting so that it can brief the US side in Doha after taking a final decision about the ceasefire, said the source.
It's almost a week that a delegation from the Taliban’s office in Qatar led by Mawlavi Shahabuddin Delawar held backdoor meetings with the group’s top leadership in Pakistan to coordinate the views between their leadership about a ceasefire.
“Discussions are underway to decide whether the ceasefire will be a short term or a permanent one, however a final decision has yet to be taken,” said Sayed Akbar Agha, a former Taliban commander.
Meanwhile a source familiar with talks in Doha has said that the US has told the Taliban that it will not sign a peace agreement unless an agreement is reached on a ceasefire and the reduction of violence.
“The US special envoy is still waiting on the Taliban’s decision on the issue of reduction of violence and the ceasefire, it seems that the US will not sign a peace accord with the group unless they agree on reducing violence and accepting the ceasefire,” said Sami Yousufzai, a freelance journalist in Doha.
Meanwhile in Kabul the Afghan government is also trying to finalize a peace-negotiating delegation as part of efforts to broker the intra-Afghan talks once the US and the Taliban sign the peace deal.
“The Afghan government has considered the principle of consultation as a key element in forming an inclusive peace negotiating delegation--the peace negotiating team will be inclusive to make sure that it can represent the people of Afghanistan in a comprehensive way,” said Naji Anwari, spokeswoman for the State Ministry on Peace Affairs.