ADDS US CONFIRMATION
By Shadi Khan Saif
KABUL, Afghanistan (AA) - The Taliban in Afghanistan announced on Wednesday they would resume talks with the U.S. over the Afghan peace process in Doha, Qatar today.
The Afghan government has not commented on this short announcement by the insurgent group that has already held five rounds of talks with the U.S.
“Today Wednesday 1st of May 2019, 6th round of talks will take place between the Negotiation Team of Islamic Emirate [Taliban] & US in Doha,” Zabihullah Mujahed, the group’s spokesman tweeted.
Washington’s top peace negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad visited Pakistan from April 29 to 30 to gather support for the need to accelerate intra-Afghan dialogue and negotiations as well as a reduction in violence.
He has confirmed today’s meeting with the Taliban. “Ahead of talks in Doha today, had morning meeting with Indonesian FM Marsudi. Very much appreciate her support for the #AfghanPeaceProcess and compelling offer of assistance. #Indonesia is uniquely poised to contribute,” he tweeted on Wednesday after meeting Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Lestari.
The Indonesian foreign minister also met head of Taliban’s Qatar office Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar. “The Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs assured assistance and playing a positive role in resolving the Afghan issue if needed and expressed hope that the Afghan issue finds a speedy logical resolution,” the Taliban spokesman said in a statement.
Earlier this month, the U.S. expressed disappointment over postponement of the landmark peace conference between the Taliban and an Afghan peace delegation in Qatar.
Over 200 Afghan politicians and civil society representatives were set to meet the Taliban in the Qatari capital for what was set to be a momentous development endorsed by Kabul and Washington.
However, Taliban opposed and mocked the large size of the Afghan peace delegation saying the conference in Doha is not a 'wedding party'.
The proposed talks are since faced with a deadlock amid efforts to revive the nascent peace process as the raging war continues to claim more lives in the war-ravaged country.