Taliban leaders have said they will not negotiate with the Afghan government as long as Ashraf Ghani remains president, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Wednesday (August 11), Reuters reported.
U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad left for Doha over the weekend where he will “help formulate a joint international response to the rapidly deteriorating situation in Afghanistan”, the State Department reported.
As war is escalating in Afghanistan and the Taliban have taken four provinces, the already host-country of the slow-moving intra-Afghan talks, Qatar is ready to host two other international meetings on peace in Afghanistan.
The Taliban will show no will for peace and will not get back to the negotiating table unless the situation changes on the battlefield, President Ashraf Ghani said, reiterating that the group has changed compared to 20 years ago, but the change has been negative, and they have become more “cruel."
While a ceasefire is still elusive, two days of talks in Doha, Qatar, between the Afghan government and Taliban delegations wrapped up on a somewhat positive note after both sides agreed to continue negotiations.
The Taliban has said it will attend the U.S-proposed peace conference in Turkey on three conditions – the conference must be short, the agenda must not include decision-making on critical issues and the Taliban delegation should be low level.
Members of the extended ‘Troika’ on the Peaceful Settlement in Afghanistan – Russia, US, China and Pakistan – will meet on Friday to hammer out a single position on advancing the Afghan peace talks, Russian Special Presidential Representative for Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov said on Wednesday night.
The U.S. special envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad said on Tuesday that President Joe Biden’s administration would press for “meaningful participation” for women and minorities in ongoing peace talks.
Foreign ministers from Afghanistan, Turkey and Pakistan held a meeting in Istanbul on Friday in an effort to revive the Afghan peace process days after a key UN-led conference was postponed due to non-participation of the Taliban.