The Afghan government on Monday pressed its resolve for a truce with the Taliban, reiterating its desire for a long-term ceasefire at historic talks in Qatar.
The two sides are at the initial stages of meetings in Doha as both are vying to formulate a deal that could bring an end to 19 years of bloodshed. From the Afghan government side peace process head, Abdullah Abdullah suggested that the Taliban could offer a ceasefire in exchange for the discharge of jailed fighters.
The spokesperson of Afghan president Sediq Seddiqi tweeted on Monday that the presence of state negotiators at the talks “is aimed at achieving a ceasefire, ending the violence and ensuring lasting peace and stability in the country”. The U.S. struck an agreement with the Taliban in February which will see them withdraw troops from Afghanistan.
The deal, which paved the way for the Doha negotiations, didn’t commit the insurgents to any reduction of violence, only requiring that it be “an item on the agenda” in negotiations.
Schedules and a code of conduct for the talks were discussed in meetings on Sunday and were to continue on Monday, as per the government side, but talks on substantive issues are yet to get underway.
Afghan government delegates warned that negotiations, which happen whilst fighting continues in Afghanistan, would be arduous and messy.
The US-led invasion decades ago which toppled the Taliban, fighting still kills dozens of Afghanis daily and the country’s economy has been shattered, pushing millions into poverty.
Officials said six police were killed from a Taliban attack in Kunduz at the weekend, while five officers were slain in Kapisa province.
The roadside mine blast in the capital which wounded two civilians, whereas another blast hit Kabul district.
While giving the opening speech, Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar repeated the insurgents’ message that Afghanistan should be run as per Islamic law.
The Afghan government and Taliban negotiators met in Qatar whereas on another hand around 50 families gathered at a graveyard in Kabul on Monday imploring them to not forget the rights of victims of violence.
Demonstrating families gathered at a cemetery where many of the victims of a 2018 bomb attack at an educational institute in west Kabul were buried. Many of them gathered at the graveyard, some by the graves of their loved ones, called for lasting peace.
Raihana Hashemi, 28, whose sister was killed in an incident in which protesters were shot near an educational institute school in 2018, said that around two months ago she and some families had created a “National War Victims Network” to elevate concerns they were being forgotten during the peace process.