While hopes over the resumption of stalled peace talks with the Taliban gather momentum, Afghan government officials and peace council members said Sunday that it is too early to elaborate on the venue, the negotiating team or on details regarding the framework of negotiations with the insurgent group.
Looking uneasy over the pace and direction of the peace talks with the Taliban, members of the High Peace Council stated that the process is moving more slowly than planned. They said that the venue and framework have not yet been finalized.
Earlier this week, the peace council said the possible role of U.S, China and UN at the talks would be a positive move.
It is important that the Taliban leadership shows readiness for peace, said the HPC, urging a truce to be considered between government and Taliban before the resumption of talks.
“Until now there is no clear vision for inter-Afghan peace negotiations. So far we do not know who will meet and where and what topic will be discussed,” said one HPC member.
“It seems that the process is moving forward more slowly. We expect the talks would be inter-Afghan dialogue and yield positive outcomes,” he said.
Meanwhile, Sartaj Aziz Adviser to Pakistani Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs and National Security has said that a joint commission between Kabul and Islamabad is expected to be formed, stating that the talks will resume soon.
Aziz reiterated that Pakistan will play the role of a good mediator in the negotiation process.
The Afghan government also seems to be reluctant to give details of the peace talks.
“It is too early to comment about the formation of a peace delegation and which sides will sit and talk,” a deputy presidential spokesman Sayed Zafar Hashemi said.
Former peace negotiators are also not confident about a breakthrough in the talks.
“There is no assurance that these talks will continue with the Taliban,” MP Assadullah Saadati said.
Islamabad which allegedly wields influence over the Taliban hosted the first round of formal peace talks between the group and the Afghan government in July. However, the talks were deadlocked after Taliban belatedly confirmed the death of the group’s longtime leader Mullah Omar in Pakistan, sparking a power struggle among the group’s factions.
Ties between Kabul and Islamabad became strained in the aftermath of deadly attacks on Kabul which officials claimed had been planned in Pakistan, asking Islamabad to launch a crackdown against militant groups operating in its soil.
But tensions eased after leaders from both countries met in Paris at the sidelines of the Climate Change conference in November and once again agreed to resume the peace talks.