Intra-Afghan peace talks were said last week to begin by the end of the week, yet there was no progress seen.
The Afghan State Ministry for Peace Affairs earlier announced the intra-Afghan peace talks would begin in the coming days, but now says the date for the talks will be declared after the two sides settle disputes on a complete release of prisoners.
Analysts also see the prisoner releases as a major barrier in the way of intra-Afghan peace negotiations.
Muhebullah Samim, a political analyst, expressed hope the intra-Afghan talks would begin soon.
He was confident that delays in the prisoner exchanges and in finalizing members of High Council for National Reconciliation – both in its leadership committee and general assembly were the principle reasons of a slowdown in the direct talks between Afghans.
There are different reasons that an intra-Afghan dialogue doesn’t get started. I believe the matter of prisoner releases comes in which was a prerequisite for the start of direct negotiations. Under a peace pact signed between the United States and the group, the Afghan government was set to release 5,000 of Taliban inmates and 1,000 prisoners of the government in return. Now, if we look, the government has so far released 3,000 Taliban prisoners and the group in return has freed 500 prisoners it was holding. As soon as the condition is fulfilled, the talks would begin and there would be no concerning obstacle in the way of talks, he said.
Sayed Akbar Agha, a former member of the Taliban group, however, said the government and the Taliban haven’t yet settled their differences on the process of prisoner swap.
According to him, Afghan government wants that the process of intra-Afghan peace negotiations and the process of releasing Taliban’s prisoners to be carried out simultaneously, but Taliban have not expressed any flexibility in this regard yet.
According to Akbar Agha, both the government and the group should be willing to sacrifice for peace in the country, and speed up the process of [prisoner releases].
The process of prisoner exchanges was an important condition for the intra-Afghan talks to get started. The Afghan government is now trying to get both the prisoner releases and the direct talks to be carried through simultaneously, but the Taliban disagree, demanding the prisoners to be released first. A venue for the intra-Afghan talks would soon be finalized and the talks would begin immediately after the prisoner releases is completed, Sayed Akbar Agha spoke to TKG.
The Afghan State Ministry for Peace Affairs, meanwhile, says the date and venue for the intra-Afghan negotiations will be announced after the two sides end their disputes on a complete release of prisoners and reduce violence.
Speaking to TKG, Najia Anwari, a spokeswoman for the peace state ministry, said, “The date and venue for the intra-Afghan negotiations will be decided on after the two sides complete the process of prisoner release and fulfill a reduction in violence.”
The Afghan government under a peace agreement struck between the United States and the Taliban has so far released 3,000 Taliban prisoners while the group has freed over 500 inmates of the government in return.Follow TKG on Twitter & Facebook