The first official meeting of both sides in the intra-Afghan talks, which was scheduled for Monday morning, has been postponed because key issues have still not been decided, according to members of Kabul's "contact group" who met with their Taliban counterparts to establish a framework for the way forward.
The advance groups of the two negotiation teams in Doha have yet to decide on an agenda, the code of conduct and the scheduling of the first round of the intra-Afghan talks, say members of the Kabul delegation.
The contact groups held their first meeting on Sunday evening and the second was scheduled for Monday morning, but it did not happen, said negotiators from the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, who added that there were no decisions made about the agenda of the talks during the official first meeting.
Afghan negotiator Habiba Sarabi says that only one meeting has been held between the contact groups of the two sides, and "we should not expect decisions on everything in a short time." She says the second meeting of the contact group will happen later Monday.
“The agenda comes later (in discussions). First, we should decide on the principles of the negotiations,” said Matin Bek, a negotiator from the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. “Other topics might take time, but we have made good progress jointly,” he said.
Afghanistan’s chief negotiator Masoom Stanekzai said they will have tough discussions with the Taliban during the negotiations.
This comes as Pakistani media reported that US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad on Monday arrived in Pakistan to meet with Pakistani officials about the intra-Afghan negotiations.
The opening ceremony of the intra-Afghan negotiations was held in Doha on Saturday, attended by key Afghan officials including Abdullah Abdullah, head of the High Council for National Reconciliation. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also participated in the event.
Pompeo, quoted by US media agency Breitbart, said that the US is moving at a pace outlined in the Feb. 29 US-Taliban agreement for a full withdrawal of all US forces from Afghanistan by the spring of 2021.
He made his comments following the opening ceremony of the intra-Afghan talks, Breitbart said, and he reiterated that the agreement is conditional.