During the first day of talks on Saturday, the focus of discussion was on the reduction of violence that is intended to lead to intra-Afghan negotiations and a ceasefire, according to a US source.
A Taliban source said that so far, the two sides have held discussions on the reduction of violence, ceasefire and intra-Afghan negotiations, but the Taliban has mostly focused on signing the original agreement with the US.
According to the source, the first day of the talks continued for four hours.
“The first day of the talks was focused on the reduction of violence, ceasefire and intra-Afghan negotiations, but they discussed the draft agreement today (Saturday),” said Mawlawi Qalamuddin, a member of the former Taliban regime.
The deputy head of the High Peace Council, Haji Din Mohammad, said he met the US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad in Kabul last week and that they discussed the US’s plan for peace in Afghanistan.
“Mr. Khalilzad said that when the talks begin--first, a ceasefire will happen between the US and the Taliban,” he explained. “He (Khalilzad) also said the US will protect Afghanistan if it is attacked and it will not allow the war in Afghanistan to continue.”
The Afghan government expects issues surrounding the Taliban’s hideouts outside in Pakistan will be part of the US-Taliban talks in this round.
“The United States is moving forward in coordination with the Afghan government. Violence will be reduced when the (intra-Afghan) negotiations begin and this will result in a ceasefire,” said Dawa Khan Minapa, a presidential spokesman. “Also, they will focus on terrorists’ hideouts outside of Afghanistan.”
Meanwhile, the US Defense Secretary Mark Esper at the Reagan National Defense Forum on Saturday said he wants to prioritize the deployment of US forces to the Asia-Pacific region from other areas, including Afghanistan, according to a report by Bloomberg.
“What I want to do is reallocate forces,” Esper said when asked about cutting troops in Afghanistan. “That’s my priority theater,” Esper said.
Former president Hamid Karzai in a statement welcomed the resumption of US-Taliban talks and said he hopes the negotiations will cause peace and end the war in Afghanistan.