Former Taliban officials on Sunday were optimistic about the meeting between US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, and Taliban officials in Qatar said both sides have agreed to hold talks on the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan.
Sayed Mohammad Akbar Agha, the former leader of the Taliban's Jaish-al-Muslimeen, said both sides will hold more talks in the near future about the withdrawal of foreign troops.
Agha said maintaining peace in Afghanistan was impossible, unless foreign forces left the country.
“Taliban and Americans so far only have talked on withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan. Peace can be maintained, but with the presence of foreign troops, peace will not come to Afghanistan,” said Agha.
Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan (RS) meanwhile said they are here to help Afghanistan’s leadership create a safe country and help with the reconciliation process.
Former chief of the National Directorate of Security Amrullah Saleh meanwhile Tweeted on Sunday in reaction to the possible agreement between Taliban and US officials over the withdrawal of forces, that was initially reported by Aljazeera, that if the news is true, then it is the time for a resistance movement to stand against insurgency and Taliban to defend the people and the country.
“If Aljazeera's piece is true & that the US has started to discuss fate of Afg with the Taliban then it is time for the resistance constituency to start preparations for defending the dignity of the Afghan people who have stood against Taliban terrorism. Deepening uncertainty,” Saleh wrote.
Commenting on the meeting between Khalilzad and Taliban, the High Peace Council meanwhile said the final decision on the peace process will be taken by the Afghan government.
“The peace process is a complex process and has many dimensions. The issues cannot be solved in one or two negotiations,” HPC member Abdul Rahim Big Yaqoubi said.
The meeting was however met with mixed reactions by members of the Meshrano Jirga (the Upper House of Parliament).
Some of the senators said Taliban and the Afghan government should agree on a peace outline, while others said if the negotiations are not guaranteed internationally, the process will render no results.
“Both sides, government and Taliban, should come to an agreement on a peace outline,” senator Ghairat Bahir said.
“If an international guarantee is not made, the process will have no result like in the past,” the senate’s first deputy speaker Mohammad Alam Ezedyar said.
“US as a big country and has stepped into the process and we hope the process will bring results,” senate speaker Fazl Hadi Muslimyar said.
Information leaked to the media indicates that Khalilzad and Taliban officials met on Wednesday in Qatar and talked about announcing a ceasefire and freeing a number of Taliban prisoners or at least exchanging them with government prisoners, but that they have not yet reached an agreement in this regard.