Doha, 16 Oct. 2020 (Qatar Tribune)
The Afghan negotiating teams are close to finalising a roadmap and the rule of procedures for discussion, a top Afghan Taliban official has said.
“It is a matter of merely two clauses. We hopefully will remove hurdles in reaching a final agenda of bilateral discussions,” Dr Mohammad Naeem, Spokesperson for Afghan Taliban, told Qatar Tribune in an exclusive interview.
“It is important and beneficial for all of us to reach an agreement at the earliest for the peace and security in Afghanistan and its development,” he added.
Talking on developments since the signing of US-Taliban agreement in Doha in February this year, he said: “There are some positive developments towards achieving peace and security in Afghanistan since the signing of the agreement eight months ago.”
“To us, the US-Taliban agreement is of historical importance. The first achievement was that US-NATO forces have vacated some of their bases in Afghanistan. Second achievement was the release of our 5,000 prisoners, the third was the start of the internationally supported intra-Afghan discussions in Doha and the fourth one was reduction in attacks in general from our side,” he noted.
About the ongoing intra-Afghan discussions, he said, “Regular meetings are in progress, negotiating parties have agreed on most of the points of the roadmap. There are just one or two clauses left in finalising the rules of procedure and hopefully we will soon reach a decision.”
Replying to a question on the chances of reaching a final agreement on intra-Afghan discussions by the time the US withdraws some of its forces by April 2021, he said, “As far as they are concerned, their objective is to reach a final agreement with the other party as soon as possible.”
When asked about the talks taking a longer time in reaching a final agreement, Dr Naeem said it is just the beginning phase of the intra-Afghan discussions.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani during his recent lecture at Doha Institute had stressed on an immediate complete ceasefire from all sides in Afghanistan.
Responding to Ghani’s remark, the Taliban spokesperson said, “The ceasefire is one of the points of agenda of intra-Afghan discussions. Once formal talks take place, it will be discussed.”
When asked to comment on Ghani’s remarks that the Afghan constitution is regarded as the world’s best Islamic constitution, he said, “We consider constitution is very important for any country and this is also one of the points of agenda in intra-Afghan dialogue.”
On the roles of women in Afghanistan, he said women constitute an important segment of Afghan society and their role has always been very admirable in the Afghan history.
“We take pride in the roles played by women, especially during foreign aggressions,” he added.
He recited a Pashtu verse from poetry of Afghan legend poetess Mala Lai ‘if you return home without sacrificing your life from battlefield, my dear you will spend your remaining life in disgrace’. He said Mala Lai’s poetry inspired the Afghan fighters and they defeated the British army in 1888. “Women, being an important segment of Afghan society, have to play their role to safeguard the sovereignty and integrity of the country,” he said.