Taliban say negotiating team in Qatar for Afghan peace talks

Published September 5, 2020
This file photo shows members of the Afghan Taliban. — AP/File
This file photo shows members of the Afghan Taliban. — AP/File

The Taliban's negotiating team has arrived in Qatar, a spokesman said on Saturday, in a sign that long-delayed peace talks with the Afghan government are inching closer to starting.

A date for the talks, to be hosted in Doha, has not been set but the warring sides have this week made signals that negotiations could launch soon, including efforts to wrap up a drawn-out prisoner exchange.

“All members of our negotiating team have arrived in Doha. The talks will begin once some small technical issues are resolved,” Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen told AFP.

Analyse: Daunting path to Afghan peace

The Taliban team had recently been in Pakistan discussing the peace process with the government in Islamabad.

Qatar authorities have been imposing a seven-day quarantine period on all arrivals to the country, but have made exemptions for some delegations who undergo regular testing.

The Afghan government's negotiating team remained in Kabul on Saturday, but a logistics team landed in Doha earlier this week.

Faraidoon Khawzoon, a spokesman for the Afghan government's reconciliation council, said its negotiating team was ready for talks.

“The release of the prisoners is completed and there is no excuse for delaying the talks,” he tweeted.

“But the Taliban don't seem to be ready for the talks. We expect the Taliban to get ready and start the negotiations.”

The talks were initially due to begin in March as set out in a deal between the United States and the Taliban in February, from which Kabul was excluded.

But disagreements over ongoing violence and the prisoner swap have seen the start repeatedly pushed back.

Opinion

The risk of escalation

The risk of escalation

The silence of the US and some other Western countries over the raid on the Iranian consulate has only provided impunity to the Zionist state.

Editorial

Saudi FM’s visit
Updated 17 Apr, 2024

Saudi FM’s visit

The government of Shehbaz Sharif will have to manage a delicate balancing act with Pakistan’s traditional Saudi allies and its Iranian neighbours.
Dharna inquiry
17 Apr, 2024

Dharna inquiry

THE Supreme Court-sanctioned inquiry into the infamous Faizabad dharna of 2017 has turned out to be a damp squib. A...
Future energy
17 Apr, 2024

Future energy

PRIME MINISTER Shehbaz Sharif’s recent directive to the energy sector to curtail Pakistan’s staggering $27bn oil...
Tough talks
Updated 16 Apr, 2024

Tough talks

The key to unlocking fresh IMF funds lies in convincing the lender that Pakistan is now ready to undertake real reforms.
Caught unawares
Updated 16 Apr, 2024

Caught unawares

The government must prioritise the upgrading of infrastructure to withstand extreme weather.
Going off track
16 Apr, 2024

Going off track

LIKE many other state-owned enterprises in the country, Pakistan Railways is unable to deliver, while haemorrhaging...