U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad met with the Taliban and Afghan government’s peace negotiating team members in Doha to hear their thoughts on the progress of the talks.
Khalilzad met Afghan government’s chief negotiator Masoom Stanekzai along with several other members of the delegation. The meeting focused on the U.S.’ commitment to Afghanistan and the need for a comprehensive ceasefire.
Stanekzai emphasised the “firm will and independence of Afghans to achieve peace, called the support of regional countries and the world important for advancing the negotiation process,” the press release by the State Ministry for Peace said.
The U.S. envoy also tweeted that he met negotiators Fawzia Koofi, Sarabi Habiba, Fatima Gailani and Sharifa Zurmati on Friday, to hear their thoughts on the future of Afghanistan.
He said the women delegation members are “determined to defend the rights of Afghan women and push for an end to the war and respect for the rights of all Afghans. Their success is Afghanistan’s success. We stand with them.”
Khalilzad had met Taliban’s deputy leader Mullah Baradar and their chief negotiator Mawlawi Abdul Hakim in on Thursday, announced the Taliban spokesperson Naeem Wardak.
Wardak tweeted about the meeting on Friday and said, “In this meeting, it was emphasized that both parties should adhere to the agreement signed between the Taliban and the United States and try to implement it further.”
He also said that the release of Taliban prisoners, and the peace talks were also discussed.
Khalilzad’s Doha visit comes almost three weeks after the inauguration of the peace talks.
The Taliban demand recognition of the U.S.-Taliban agreement signed in February as the “mother deal” underlying the Afghan peace talks, and Hanafi jurisprudence as the sole religious guideline.
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Media reports said that the Afghan republic’s team have suggested alternatives to the Taliban’s demands but this back-and-forth has delayed the start of the actual talks and led to higher casualties since the militant group has refused to call for a ceasefire.
Both sides have held six meetings in contact groups so far and have continuously called for patience due to the complexity of the issues involved in resolving 40-years of conflict.