The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the Afghan government has a place in the peace process, responding to recent remarks by US President Donald Trump who complimented the Taliban for being "tough" and "smart" and saying the "United States is doing well" with the militant group in the talks.
“We’re dealing very well with the Taliban,” Trump said at a news conference according to a White House statement. “They’re very tough, they’re very smart, they’re very sharp. But, you know, it’s been 19 years, and even they are tired of fighting, in all fairness.”
Trump also pointed to the peace negotiations with the Taliban and said, “we’re having some very good discussions with the Taliban, as you probably heard.”
He stressed that the number of US forces in Afghanistan will be less than 4,000 in near future. “And so we’ll be out of there, knowing that certain things have to happen — certain things have to be fulfilled. But 19 years is a long time, 8,000 miles away. Nineteen years is a long time,” Trump added.
“President Trump’s remarks have been to the media and his own people. The Government of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan has full contact with issues and is moving forward its activities based on that,” said Gran Hewad, spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Taliban signed a peace deal with the United States on February 29. The start of last week’s peace talks in Doha between the negotiating teams of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban are part of the agreement the militant group signed with the US.
“The Taliban has now found their resources. Their resources are the country that is helping them. Now, if someone calls the Taliban a group, in fact, he hurts peace (process),” said Mawlawi Qalamuddin, head of Harakat-e-Islami party of Afghanistan.
US Peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad in a tweet on Saturday night said that the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) issued a statement on Afghanistan peace negotiations that underscores the international commitment to Afghanistan's "sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national unity."
Khalilzad said that the statement “supports the path the parties are currently on, which is to find a political settlement that accommodates all Afghans, one the region and international community can endorse in spirit and in action.”
“They should make an agreement based on the country’s national interests and based on the demand of the Afghan people, which is peace in Afghanistan,” said Gul Rahman Qazi, head of the council of peace and rescue of Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, former Iranian ambassador to Kabul, Mohammad Reza Bahrami, in an article for TOLOnews, writes that achieving a real understanding in the intra-Afghan negotiations in the absence of the Doha agreement is difficult. He has also pointed out the deep rift in the demands of the two negotiating teams in Doha.
“There are deep rifts between the two negotiating teams,” Bahrami writes. “The Taliban sees the Afghan government as illegitimate and it seems that they are seeking a reestablishment of the Islamic emirate without expressing it openly at the moment.”
He also writes that the “American architects of the Doha agreement have practically ignored the current government in Afghanistan and have guaranteed in the agreement they signed with the Taliban.
The opening ceremony for the intra-Afghan negotiations was held on September 12. The two sides have held five meetings to discuss the agenda as well as rules and regulations for direct negotiations between the 21-member negotiating team of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the 21-member team of the Taliban.
The two sides, according to sources, have yet to agree on three disputed points in the rules and regulations for the talks.