The Taliban is “the main obstacle” for progress in the peace negotiations in Doha, Danesh said, adding that the Taliban does not believe in a peaceful solution to the war in the country. Danesh said the new US administration should review the Afghan peace process and that there is a need for support to the process from all sides. The peace negotiations were inaugurated in September with the hope to end the four decades of war in the country. Negotiating teams representing the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban held more than 10 meetings in small set up called contact groups to discuss procedural rules for the talks. The two sides have agreed on almost all articles of the ground rules for negotiations except two: religious basis for the talks and the connection of the US-Taliban deal with the talks in Doha. This comes as peace negotiator Fawzia Koofi on Sunday said that they remain hopeful that the disputed points on procedural rules of the talks are removed within the next few days to resume the meetings between delegates from both sides of the negotiations. Sources familiar with the process said the host of the talks, Qatar, and other countries supporting the Afghan peace process have expedited their efforts to remove the hurdles in the way of the direct negotiations between both sides. “The draft is exchanged between the two sides. Some words are added. Some words are changed. We hope to solve this issue within the next few days,” Koofi said. “Recommendations are made by our side and by their side. The prolongation of the process is due to the fact that we are discussing the recommendations they make, and they discuss recommendations we make so that we can reach an agreement. We hope to achieve a result,” said Mohammad Naeem, spokesman for the Taliban’s political office in Doha.
Afghanistan’s Meshrano Jirga (Upper House of Parliament) on Sunday summoned National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA) officials, and Kabul municipal officials to answer questions over the high levels of pollution in Kabul city among other issues.
According to senators, government is responsible for taking practical steps to reduce the pollution in Kabul. Without control, Kabul residents are exposed to various diseases, senators said.
“The situation has raised concerns. Some hotels and bakeries use low-quality products. Why are you not managing the problems,” said Farahnaz Pamiri, a senator.
Buildings, without proper planning permission were also raised and concerns voiced.
“The buildings that were built without any authorization and the use of low-quality materials has affected the environment badly. Government should stop these problems,” said Mohammad Akbari, another senator.
NEPA, however, acknowledged the pollution problem and said government institutions are implementing recommended measures but very slowly.
“We have a long-term plan. We have identified 52 causes of pollution. The government institutions implement the recommended measures so slowly,” said #Ezatullah Siddiqi, deputy head of NEPA.
#Kabul’s Mayor Daoud Sultanzoy, meanwhile said that in order to fight pollution, the public needs to cooperate as 30 percent of pollution is caused by members of the public.
“As we investigated, 200 factory buildings out of 600 have filters and 149 others installed filters last year. We monitor buildings seriously. We will ask police for their cooperation if needed,” said Sultanzoy.
Senators said government should also stop the practice of importing low-quality fuel so as to reduce the level of air pollution in Kabul city.