Taliban open to Turkey Conference but with conditions, says report

The Taliban, the main Afghan insurgent group, has expressed its openness to attend the Turkey Conference on the condition that the end talks must be held in Doha, Qatar, reported TOLOnews, citing sources

May 17, 2021
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Afghanistan (File)

The Taliban, the main Afghan insurgent group, has expressed its openness to attend the Turkey Conference on the condition that the end talks must be held in Doha, Qatar, reported TOLOnews, citing sources. The report claimed the insurgent group has also agreed to resume talks with the government team in Doha in the coming days, a move that would revive the long-stalled intra-Afghan negotiation between the two parties. 

Earlier, the Taliban refused to attend any peace process until all foreign troops withdraw from Afghanistan. The announcement by the group had come soon after US President Joe Biden made it clear that the US troops will stay beyond 1 May. 

However, Biden announced an unconditional withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan; though the extension beyond 1 May was unilateral. Accusing the US of violating the Doha agreement, the Taliban ended its participation in the peace process.

If the information is correct, the pressure is building on the Taliban to seriously consider a political deal, especially after Pakistan Army Chief Gen Javed Bajwa’s recent visit to Afghanistan. 

A delegation of the Taliban leadership has been camping in Pakistan for over 20 days now, possible to discuss the way forward with its leadership and Pakistan’s leaders. 

“Pakistan’s influence on the Taliban and the possible encouragement from Pakistan of course has an impact,” Mohammad Amin Waqad, the former deputy head of the High Peace Council, was quoted as saying. 

Sayed Akbar Agha, a former Taliban commander, speaking to TOLOnews, said “I think that this will open the way for an Istanbul conference where the Taliban will attend. They might make the agenda based on who in the Afghan government team will attend, not based on the US agenda.”  

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