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US, Taliban discuss Afghan peace process

30 Jun 2020 Ariana News

US State Secretary Mike Pompeo spoke to Taliban deputy leader Mullah Baradar via video conference and discussed the Afghan peace process.  Suhail Shaheen, a spokesman for the Taliban said in a tweet that the two sides discussed the implementation of Doha deal, US troops withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the intra-Afghan peace talks. Shaheen added that the US Secretary has called on the Taliban and the Afghan government to reduce violence. However, the Taliban blamed the Afghan government for the escalation of violence, saying that the Afghan forces patrol and establish checkpoints in the group’s controlled areas. Meanwhile, Masoum Stanekzai, head of the government’s peace negotiating team claimed that the regional countries’ disputes have complicated the peace process. “One of the things to do to start intra-Afghan negotiation is to reduce violence. Disputes between countries in the region have complicated the Afghan peace process,” said Masoum Stanekzai, head of the government’s peace negotiating team. Meanwhile, the Taliban’s political bureau said that Ibrahim Taherian, Iran’s special envoy for Afghanistan, has also met with Mullah Baradar, the Taliban’s political deputy in Doha, the capital of Qatar. Iranian media reported that the meeting focused on US non-interference in the Afghan negotiations, as well as on the interests of the two countries. “Unfortunately, there seems to be no significant progress,” said Abdullah Qarluq, deputy leader of the National Movement Party. The talks come as Zalmay Khalilzad and the CEO of the US-based Global Investment Company are also traveling to Qatar, Uzbekistan, and Pakistan to pave the way for intra-Afghan talks. “As long as the United States does not reach an agreement with countries in the region, such as Russia, peace in Afghanistan will be fragile,” said Moqadam Amin, a military expert. “Increased violence by the Taliban is hampering the peace process,” said Najia Anwari, a government ministry spokeswoman for peace. Negotiations between Afghans are expected to take place next month. But the release of prisoners and the escalation of violence is still a point of contention between the Taliban and the Afghan government.

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