Intra-Afghan talks open in Qatar’s Capital after two decades
After nearly two decades of war peace talks between the Afghanistan government and the Taliban have opened in Qatar’s capital.
Key speakers at Saturday’s opening ceremony at a hotel in Doha included Abdullah Abdullah, chairperson of Afghanistan’s High Council for National Reconciliation, Taliban deputy leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
India attended the intra-Afghan talks in Doha on Saturday. A senior official participated in-person and External Affairs minister S Jaishankar joined-in virtually. After the Afghan government released the last batch of six Taliban prisoners on Thursday, Kabul and the Taliban had announced that the long-awaited “intra-Afghan” talks would begin on September 12 in Doha, Qatar. The talk was scheduled to take place in March but have been delayed repeatedly because of the prisoner exchange agreement made as part of US-Taliban deal signed in February. India had attended the signing of the US-Taliban pact on February 29. At that time, Indian ambassador to Qatar P Kumaran had witnessed the event.
What was the agreement?
In the agreement, 1000 Afghan troops were agreed to be realeased by Taliban and the Afghan government would release 5000 Taliban prisoners.
France and Australia were against freeing of 6 specific prisoners who were involved in killing their citizens. It took 6 months to have both governments on the negotiation table to reach a peaceful agreement.
What are the wants of the goverments?
The Afghan government backs the current democratic political system, while the Taliban wants to reimpose its version of Islamic law as the country’s system of governance.
The armed group has, however, given vague comments on adopting a less strict stance towards women and social equality than during their 1996-2001 rule, during which women were banned from attending school, working, taking part in politics or even leaving their homes without a male family member.
While addressing Afghanistan, Jaishankar said that the peace process must be Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled.
Two back-to-back high-level ministerial visits from India to Iran, sources said, indicates Delhi’s commitment and ties with Tehran at such a difficult time. The Afghanistan situation is a common and shared interest for both countries.
But this time, a top Indian official flew down to Doha and the Foreign minister is joining in virtually. This is a significant move, given India’s secrecy in acknowledging power-sharing arrangements in Kabul.
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Penned by Namrata Samtani, at Earthlyspeaks