The main topics of negotiations in Doha will be a long-term ceasefire and political settlement of the conflict.
Negotiations between representatives of the Afghan government and the radical Taliban will begin in Qatar’s capital city on Saturday, Interfax reports.
“Qatar is pleased to announce that peace talks on Afghanistan will be held in Doha on Saturday, September 12,” the Qatari Foreign Ministry said earlier. The Afghan government will be headed by Abdullah Abdullah, chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation of Afghanistan, and the Taliban by senior Mawlawi Abdul Hakim.
A long-term ceasefire and political settlement of the conflict are expected to be the main topics of discussion. Negotiations were originally scheduled for March, but have been postponed several times.
The announcement of a date for talks followed news that the last group of captured Afghan Taliban forces had been transported from Kabul to the Qatari capital on Thursday. This was the last Taliban group on the list of 5,000 prisoners of war demanded by the Taliban as a condition for the start of the inter-Afghan peace talks.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Russian President’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and Director of the second Asian Department of the Russian Foreign Ministry Zamir Kabulov also went to Qatar.
As you know, on February 29, 2020, the U.S. and the Taliban signed an agreement designed to launch the peace process in Afghanistan.
According to the agreements reached in February between the U.S. and the Taliban, in order to start inter-Afghan negotiations, the Afghan government and the Taliban had to complete the prisoner exchange process, under which the authorities had to release 5,000 fighters and the radical movement had to release 1,000 security forces.
Under the terms of the agreement, the Taliban committed themselves not to use Afghan territory to undermine the security of the united states and its allies. The U.S. has pledged to withdraw within 14 months if the Taliban abide by the agreement.
U.S. troops entered Afghanistan nearly 19 years ago after the 9/11 attacks. This is the longest-running military campaign in u.s. history. More than 2,400 U.S. troops have died during the conflict.
The civil war in Afghanistan has continued at varying intensity since the 1970s. The last stage of the confrontation began in 2015, after the withdrawal of the bulk of NATO troops.