the doha agreement

paving the way for

the taliban takeover of afghanistan

& enforcement of shari’a

.

~~~

by Tufail Ahmad

MEMRI daily brief

July 12, 2019

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Introduction

At the July 7-8 talks in Doha, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (the Taliban organization), backed by Qatar and the U.S., emerged victorious, extracting major advantages from Afghan delegates and the international community. A key Taliban advantage was that they held on to the Islamic Emirate’s long-standing position of not recognizing the elected government of Afghanistan as a legitimate entity. While the Afghan delegates, including those from the government, were forced to attend the talks in their personal capacity, the Taliban representatives came to the table as the Taliban.

As per a statement issued by Qatar, Dr. Mutlaq bin Majid Al-Qahtani, the Qatari Special Envoy for Counterterrorism and Mediation in Conflict Resolution, announced the “success” of the talks, stating: “We are very pleased today to reach a joint statement as a first step to peace.” The “success” and the “first step to peace” which Al-Qahtani spoke of belong to the Taliban and shari’a, not to the democratic government in Kabul, not to Afghan women who suffered under the Taliban’s shari’a rule during the 1990s, and not to common Afghans whose civil liberties are at stake in Doha.

The Afghan Taliban – as a result of the Doha talks which were sponsored jointly by Qatar and Germany – marched closer to their stated objectives of enforcing Islamic shari’a rule in Afghanistan and of restructuring the Afghan government institutions, including the military, to their liking. As discussed below, the Taliban’s realization of their objectives at the Doha talks are clearly seen in four versions of the so-called joint statement agreed to, perhaps under the U.S. pressure, by the Afghan delegates.

Three Versions Of The Doha Agreement And The Taliban’s Own Version

At the official level, there are three versions of the joint statement (henceforth, Agreement) in Pashtu, Dari, and English. However, the Islamic Emirate also published a fourth version in Urdu on its official Urdu-language website. In Point 3 of the Agreement, the Urdu version inserts a sentence – which does not exist in the English version – noting that Afghans made sacrifices “so that all international, regional, and national parties [to the Afghan situation] should become respectful toward the great tenets of our millat [Islamic Ummah].”

The seventh round of the ongoing U.S.-Taliban negotiations were paused to accommodate the July 7-8 talks between the Taliban and the Afghan delegates. In Point 4-b, the English version says that the participants support the U.S.-Taliban negotiations and believe that “an effective and positive outcome from the negotiations will be fruitful for Afghanistan.” Contrary to this, the Urdu version says the participants believe that the U.S.-Taliban talks are an “effective and positive step toward ending the ongoing war thrust upon Afghanistan.”

The English version has nine points, with Point 4, Point 5, and Point 8 having respectively two, four, and eight sub-points. Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, released the “unofficial translation” of the Agreement via Twitter and acknowledged in a tweet that there was “some confusion about translations…” In a tweet to Zalmay Khalilzad, an Afghan student of international relations expressed concern that the original Pashtu statement has “ten points.” In the Urdu version, Point 6 and Point 7 have been combined, making it an eight-point document.

The Doha Agreement – A Blueprint For Shari’a Rule

All the versions of the Agreement have some differing points. Point 6 of the English version assures Afghan women of their fundamental “rights in political, social, economic, educational, cultural affairs” of Afghanistan as per Islamic values. It does not “contain any reference to one of the key issues for the Taliban – their demand for the withdrawal of all foreign military forces…”

On the contrary, the Pashtu version of the Agreement includes “references to the withdrawal of foreign troops as part of the roadmap,” but it does “not include any reference to guarantees for women’s rights.” The Dari version, like the English one, includes “references to guaranteeing women’s rights,” but does “not mention the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan.” Suhail Shaheen, the spokesman of the Islamic Emirate’s Political Office in Doha, has said that the Pashtu version is the original. The Agreement is non-binding.

Since the Pashtu version does not talk of women’s rights, it leaves the Afghan Taliban ample space to implement their own view of what women’s rights are. The Urdu version, which is the Taliban’s official version published on their website, mentions “women’s rights” and “protection of the rights of religious minorities” in accordance with “Islamic principles.”

Both these rights are understood by jihadi groups differently from the way they are understood by democratic nations. For example, women’s rights mean segregation of women in offices, schools, colleges, and all other spheres of public and home life. Similarly, jihadi groups agree to the “protection of the rights of religious minorities” only in such situations when Islam is in power and minorities live as dhimmis, second-class citizens, and agree to pay jizya, a tax on non-Muslims.

In Doha, the Taliban did not agree to a long-standing demand from the Afghan government that they agree to a ceasefire for meaningful progress to be made in Afghanistan. However, in all versions, the parties are committed to “minimiz[ing] the civilian casualties to zero.” This is an important point, but it is also a surrender to the Taliban. Effectively, it means that the Islamic Emirate has declined to agree to any form of ceasefire.

This point also means that after the U.S.-Taliban negotiations, the Islamic Emirate will continue to fight against Afghan soldiers, as it does now. Also, the fact that the Islamic Emirate forced the delegates not to attend the event as representatives of the Afghan government means that the Taliban are unwilling to adopt a flexible approach on vital points. A day before the talks, the Islamic Emirate issued a statement in which it insisted that the Afghan delegates would participate “in their personal capacities.”

There are points indicating that the Taliban have won this round of the talks with the Afghan delegates. For example, Point 8-a of the English version of the agreement commits the parties to “institutionalizing [an] Islamic system in the country for the implementation of comprehensive peace” – effectively planting the seeds for shari’a rule in Afghanistan. In Point 2, the agreement talks of “Islamic sovereignty” for Afghan people. As per Point 8-d, the participants also agreed to “reform in the preservation of fundamental institutions, defensive [sic, defense] and other national entities” of Afghanistan, effectively demanding a restructuring of Afghan government institutions to suit the Taliban’s ideological objectives.

The Inclusion Of Moscow Declaration

In Point 9, the Agreement says: “We acknowledge and approve the recent resolution of intra-Afghan conference held on 5 and 6 Feb 2019 in Moscow.” So, the Doha Agreement incorporates the Moscow resolution. In Moscow, the Taliban delegation had refused to accept a woman as the head of the state of Afghanistan because Islam does not permit women to head a state. At that time, Fawzia Koofi, a female Afghan lawmaker who attended the Moscow conference, had welcomed the Taliban’s promise that “women would not be stripped of their rights and would be allowed to serve as prime minister — though not as president.”

The story does not end here. In the Islamic Emirate’s view, the actual peace process will start sometime later, the timing of which is unclear. For it, the U.S.-Taliban negotiations and the talks between the Taliban and the Afghan delegates do not constitute the beginning of the peace process. In Moscow, the Taliban delegation had made this point clear, stating “before the beginning of the peace talks, some preliminary steps must be taken that are essential for peace.” This point from the Moscow talks is retained in the Doha Agreement.

It says the participants agree “on a roadmap for peace based on following conditions,” one of which, in Point 8-b, being the “Start of the peace process simultaneously with the accomplishment of all terms and conditions set forth.” While Al-Qahtani, the Qatari special envoy who announced the “success” in Doha, sees the Agreement as the “first step to peace,” the Islamic Emirate does not see it even as the “start” of the peace process in Afghanistan.

Two Mornings After The Doha Agreement

On July 10 – two days after the Doha Agreement – the Afghan Taliban returned to their usual tactics and accused the Afghan government led by President Ashraf Ghani of supporting the Islamic State (ISIS), using U.S. private security firm Blackwater (now known as Academi) to kill civilians, and “trying to prolong the U.S. invasion” of Afghanistan. “The ground beneath the feet of Ashraf Ghani is shrinking not just militarily but also diplomatically [as a result of the Doha Agreement],” the Islamic Emirate wrote in a statement and celebrated the exclusion of the Afghan government from the Doha talks, saying: “The decision to not include the regime in the peace talks is a slap in the face to the regime leadership…”

Vowing to establish shari’a rule in Afghanistan, it wrote: “No matter what the puppet regime does, the stance of the mujahideen of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is clear which is to strive for the cause of Allah and to remove the rule of tyrants and overthrow the disbelief and ignorance and re-establish the rule of shari’a in Afghanistan which is the will of Afghan nation.” The Islamic Emirate especially singled out democracy as an obstacle to peace in Afghanistan, stating: “[I]t is not possible to escape from the physical barriers that the enemies have placed in our country… by embracing democracy.” It added: “The solution lies in the change of the cruel system [democracy] built by the occupiers.”

It reaffirmed commitment to jihad: “Military and political jihadi action is the effective remedy for demolishing the walls of the external occupiers and… [their] internal clients in Afghanistan.” It added: “Every Afghan knows that jihad against the current regime is the shortest and most correct way to change the situation.” The Doha Agreement shines for one outstanding point: it does not meet any demands by the Afghan government and the international community, while it becomes an instrument for the enforcement of the Taliban’s shari’a-based objectives in Afghanistan.

* Tufail Ahmad is Senior Fellow for the MEMRI Islamization and Counter-Radicalization Initiative

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https://www.memri.org/reports/doha-agreement-%E2%80%93-paving-way-talibans-takeover-afghanistan-and-enforcement-sharia-based

~~~

Tulsi

for u.s. president

~

Behold

Laka

Standing

On

The

 Mountain

~

     With eyes closed he grew numb under the cold shower in the TAMC barracks, and pretended he was standing under an icy waterfall in the mountains.  The hot water was not working this Saturday morning ~ again.

     With a towel tied around his waist he was stepping across the hallway to his cave-like room when Pvt. 1 Tom Weasel stopped him and said, “Wanna smoke a joint, Duty?”

     “No no no no,” replied PFC Donald Duty, invigorated from the cold shower.  “I don’t smoke it no mo’.”

     “Well, how you gonna be mellow if you don’t smoke it no mo’?” said Weasel.

     “I chant,” said Duty ~ and he locked himself up in his room.  He put on some clothes, opened the curtain, twirled open the window, sat down in front of a most beautiful sky and let the trade winds kiss his cheek.  Sure enough, he began to chant:

     “Ku ana ‘o Laka i ka mauna,

     Noho ana ‘o Laka i ke po ‘o oka ‘ohu.

     ‘O Laka kumu hula,

     Nana i ‘a ‘eka waokele…”

     Outside, a misty cloud white and purple upon the hilltop, gently tumbled forward.  The cloud transformed into a pretty face with depthless eyes and a supple body with graceful moves.  It was obvious ~ Laka, the hula goddess, had arrived ~ and was dancing in the sky!

     From the colorful lei hanging from her neck and tossing to and fro, there fell a flower.  It landed on the window pane in front of Duty.  “Mahalo, my beloved,” said Duty.

     He reached for the flower.  As soon as he touched it, the flower turned into a diving mask and snorkel.  Duty whispered to the suddenly clear blue sky, “Ah, I know what I’m going to do today!”

     With swimming trunks rolled up in a towel and Laka’s gift in his hand, Duty darted out of the barracks.  Sp4 Joe Honor and Sp4 John Country were about to drive away in Country’s automobile.  Duty flagged them down.

     “What’s up?” said Duty.

     “We’re going snorkeling!” replied Honor and Country in baritoned chorus.

     “Oh, can I go?  Oh, please, guys, please!”

     “Hop in,” smirked Country.

     In a cove about a half mile on the other side of Waimea Falls, located on the North Shore, the three off-duty TAMC soldiers floated around above another world ~ Fish World ~ and occasionally dove deeply into it ~ all day long.  The surface of the sea was smooth as glass and you could see forever ~ even underwater.  The many colored fishes were sassy as could be.

     Later back at the barracks, played out and cleansed of worry, Duty stepped around two MPs and a drug detection dog ~ German Shepherd type ~ in the hallway.  The dog was howling in front of Weasel’s barracks-room door.

~

https://www.tulsi2020.com

~

from

her

secret agent

bred in

DUTY WORLD

~

afghan rivals to meet in bid for peace

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news agencies

aljazeera

1 Jul 2019

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Rival Afghans will meet starting on Sunday in Qatar, officials said, in a fresh attempt to make political headway as the United States seeks a peace deal with the Taliban within three months.

The international efforts to bring warring Afghan sides to the negotiating table comes as the Taliban, which has been fighting the West-backed Kabul government, killed 16 in the latest attack in the capital.

The US special peace envoy for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, has been holding a seventh round of peace talks with the Taliban in Qatar, aimed at bringing the 18-year-old war to an end.

On Monday, US President Donald Trump said in an interview that he wants to withdraw US forces from Afghanistan, but will leave a strong intelligence presence in the country to counter what he termed the “Harvard of terrorists.”

The Taliban have refused to negotiate with the Afghan President, Ashraf Ghani. A previous attempt to bring the armed group together with government officials in Doha collapsed in April in a dispute over attendees.

Germany, a key player in international support for the post-Taliban government, and Qatar, which maintains contacts with the armed group, said that they jointly extended invitations for a dialogue in Doha on Sunday and Monday.

‘Direct engagement between Afghans’

The Afghans “will participate only in their personal capacity and on an equal footing,” Markus Potzel, Germany’s special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, said in a statement released on Monday by the US.

“Afghanistan stands at a critical moment of opportunity for progress towards peace,” he said.

“An essential component of any process leading to this objective will be direct engagement between Afghans,” he said.

But the Taliban spokesman insisted that they would not to talk to the Kabul government.

The meeting comes after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo paid a previously unannounced visit last week to Kabul where he voiced hope for a peace deal with the Taliban “before September 1.”

The ambitious time frame would allow a deal before Afghanistan holds elections in September, which Western officials fear could inject a new dose of instability.

Trump wants to pull all US troops from Afghanistan, believing that the US’s longest war – launched after the September 11, 2001 attacks – no longer makes military or financial sense.

But he said the US will “be leaving very strong intelligence, far more than you would normally think,” in an interview with the Fox New Channel’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”

“It just seems to be a lab for terrorists … I call it the Harvard of terrorists,” Trump said.

The Taliban have refused to halt their violence, believing that they have an upper hand as the US is eager to leave.

On Monday, at least 16 people were killed and dozens wounded – including 50 children – after the Taliban hit the defence ministry with a powerful bomb.

Gunmen then stormed a nearby building, triggering a gun battle with special forces. Most of the injured children were hurt by flying glass, officials said.

‘Seeking consensus’

Save the Children branded the attack “utterly deplorable,” warning that “children’s smaller bodies sustain more serious injuries than adults” and that the trauma of such attacks can stay with them for years.

Washington condemned the “brazen” and “callous” attack, but continued the seventh round of talks with the Taliban in Doha that started on Saturday.

“Once the timeline for the withdrawal of foreign forces is set in the presence of international observers, then we will begin the talks to the Afghan sides, but we will not talk to the Kabul administration as a government,” tweeted Suhail Shaheen, the spokesman of the Taliban’s office in Qatar.

Under a peace deal, the US plans to pull its roughly 14,000 troops from Afghanistan.

In return, the Taliban would provide assurances that they would never allow their territory to be a base for foreign attacks – the primary reason for the US invasion in 2001.

Zalmay Khalilzad, the US negotiator with the Taliban, said that dialogue among Afghans was an essential part of a peace deal.

“Mutual acceptance, seeking consensus, and agreeing to resolve political differences without force is what is needed to learn from the tragedy of the last 40 years,” Khalilzad said, referring to Afghanistan’s nearly incessant conflict since the Soviet invasion in 1979.

“I wish participants success,” he tweeted.

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https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/07/taliban-afghan-rivals-set-meet-fresh-bid-peace-190702021725938.html

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a synopsis of the u.s./taliban peace talks

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by Shereena Qazi

Aljazeera

29 June 2019

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United States officials and Taliban representatives are meeting in Qatar’s capital for a seventh time since October in a bid to end the 18-year war in Afghanistan.

The latest round of direct talks, which got under way in Doha on Saturday, is focused on four key issues: a Taliban guarantee that it will not allow fighters to use Afghanistan to launch attacks outside the country, the withdrawal of US and NATO forces, an intra-Afghan dialogue and a permanent ceasefire.

The Taliban government was overthrown in 2001 by a US-led military coalition for sheltering al-Qaeda, the group blamed for the 9/11 attacks in the US.

The Afghan government, however, is not involved in the talks as the Taliban has refused to negotiate with it, deeming it illegitimate and a “puppet” of the US.

Following the end of the sixth round of negotiations with the Taliban in May, the US special representative for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, announced that “faster progress” was needed as “the conflict rages” and “innocent people die”.

But analysts say peace has never been closer in Afghanistan since the talks between the US and the Taliban began.

Separately, three meetings have been held since 2017 in Moscow between the Taliban and senior Afghan politicians, including former President Hamid Karzai.

Last month, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani held a grand council in Kabul with politicians and tribal, ethnic and religious leaders to discuss the talks between the US and the Taliban in Doha.

But as these initiatives remain in the spotlight, deep divisions among the Afghan government and politicians complicate efforts to establish peace in Afghanistan.

What has been agreed to so far in US-Taliban talks?

Khalilzad, an Afghan-American diplomat who served as US ambassador to the United Nations (2007-2009), Iraq (2005-2007) and Afghanistan (2003-2005), is leading the US side in the Doha talks.

The Taliban is represented by Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, the group’s office chief, and cofounder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, who was released in October last year from a Pakistani prison.

The Taliban has long demanded the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, which has been a sticking point in the meetings between the US and the group in Doha.

In previous rounds of talks, the two sides had agreed on a “draft framework” that included the withdrawal of US troops, a discussion on Taliban’s commitment that the Afghan territory would not be used by international “terror” groups, and that a ceasefire would be implemented across the country.

But the Taliban insists it will not commit to any of these things until the US announces a withdrawal timeline.

The sixth round of talks last month ended with “some progress” on a draft agreement on the withdrawal of foreign troops, according to a Taliban official.

Khalilzad said at the time the talks with the Taliban on ending Afghanistan’s war were making slow but steady progress, while signalling a growing frustration with deadly attacks in the country.

“We made steady but slow progress on aspects of the framework for ending the Afghan war. We are getting into the nitty-gritty. The devil is always in the details,” Khalilzad said.

“However, the current pace of talks isn’t sufficient when so much conflict rages and innocent people die. We need more and faster progress. Our proposal for all sides to reduce violence also remains on the table.”

In June, both sides said there was an understanding on the withdrawal but the details, including a timeline, had not been worked out yet.

This week, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said during a trip to Kabul that the US was close to wrapping up the draft agreement with the Taliban on counterterrorism. He hoped a peace agreement could be reached by Sept 1.

Why is the Afghan government excluded?

The Taliban has long refused to negotiate with the Afghan government, which has repeatedly invited the group for talks with no success.

Washington also initially tried to get the Taliban to agree to talking with Kabul. When the Taliban refused to budge, the US was left with no option but to enter into the talks.

The group has given several reasons on why it is not willing to talk to the Afghan government.

Since the Taliban was overthrown by the US-led military intervention in 2001, the Taliban maintains that the country has been occupied by foreign forces.

It says the Kabul government has no real power and considers it a “puppet regime”. The group says any engagement with the government would grant it legitimacy.

In June, Ghani decreed the formation of a peace ministry, headed by his top aide, Abdul Salam Rahimi, to encourage direct talks with the Taliban.

What can cause US-Taliban talks to collapse?

Dawood Azami, an academic and journalist who works as a multimedia editor at BBC World Service in London, said a peace deal could only be possible when both parties were flexible and willing to make concessions.

“The lack of consensus in Kabul, the failure of the Afghan government and the non-Taliban Afghans in general, to agree on the appointment of an inclusive and authoritative negotiating team able to negotiate with the Taliban will prove a major challenge and could result in a breakdown,” he said.

“I think the next phase of talks among the Afghans [generally termed as intra-Afghan dialogue] will prove more challenging than the first [US-Taliban talks]”.

Peter Galbraith, former US diplomat and ex-UN deputy special representative for Afghanistan, said if any peace deal was to happen, there would be several hurdles before it was implemented, which he felt was a sign of its possible collapse.

“The deal-breakers are the possibility of exceptionally violent and gruesome Taliban attacks; the refusal of Afghan government to go along; a refusal of the Tajiks and Hazaras to accept a deal [even if approved by President Ashraf Ghani]; and a Taliban belief that it can prevail militarily without a deal,” he said.

“But the biggest deal-breaker may be an inability of the Taliban negotiators to get all the factions of the Taliban to follow any peace document that is signed.”

Galbraith said the US President Donald Trump administration’s determination to withdraw, regardless of the consequences, was probably the single most important factor in making a US-Taliban deal possible.

Why is Taliban refusing calls for ceasefire?

Intense fighting continues across the country even as the Taliban remains in talks with the US. The group now controls or holds influence over more Afghan territory than at any point since 2001.

“As the peace talks are entering an important phase, the Taliban want to maximize their leverage and speak from a position of strength at the negotiating table,” Azami said.

“In addition, the Taliban leadership is under pressure from their military commanders not to agree to a ceasefire before achieving a tangible goal.”

The armed group has also said on several occasions that there will be no ceasefire until the US troops withdraw from Afghanistan.

When the loya jirga (grand council) called for an immediate ceasefire between the government and Taliban during the holy month of Ramadan, Ghani agreed to a truce provided it was not “one-sided”.

However, the Taliban rejected the call for a ceasefire, saying waging a war during Ramadan had “even more rewards”.

In an interview with Tolo News, Afghanistan’s largest private television station, Khalilzad said last month that any peace agreement with the armed group would depend on the declaration of a permanent ceasefire and a commitment to end the war.

“If the Taliban insist on going back to the system they used to have, in my personal opinion it means the continuation of war, not peace,” Khalilzad said.

What is the Afghan president’s loya jirga?

Last month, the Afghan president held a loya jirga, a grand assembly which brought together more than 3,200 participants, including politicians, tribal elders and other prominent figures from across the country.

The council, which sought to hammer out a shared strategy for future negotiations with Taliban, ended with delegates demanding an “immediate and permanent” ceasefire.

The meeting, traditionally convened under extraordinary circumstances, was held in a bid to build consensus among various ethnic groups and tribal factions over restoring peace in Afghanistan.

However, Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, who shares power with Ghani, and Karzai, the former president, were among a number of senior figures who boycotted the gathering, accusing the president of using it for political ends ahead of presidential elections scheduled for September 28.

On its website, the Taliban said there had been progress in negotiations with the US and the loya jirga was an “obstacle for ending occupation” and was “sabotaging the authentic peace process”.

Moscow talks

In February this year, a two-day conference was held in the Russian capital between the Taliban and prominent Afghan politicians in a bid to lay down a plan for ending the war.

The meeting in Russia was the first public contact in years between the Taliban and prominent Afghans, including Karzai.

But Ghani dismissed the Moscow talks, saying those attending carried no negotiating authority.

In May, a delegation of Taliban negotiators, who met Afghan politicians in Moscow, said “decent progress” was made at talks but there was no breakthrough.

“The Islamic Emirate wants peace but the first step is to remove obstacles to peace and end the occupation of Afghanistan,” the Taliban’s Baradar said.

What if the peace talks collapse?

A United Nations report released earlier this year said that 2018 saw the highest number of civilians killed in Afghanistan’s war than any other year on record.

Civilian deaths jumped by 11 percent from 2017 to 3,804 people killed, including 927 children, and another 7,189 people wounded, according to the UN figures, as suicide attacks and bombings wreaked havoc across Afghanistan.

In another report released by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan in May, Afghan and international forces, including NATO, killed more civilians in the first three months of this year than the Taliban or fighters from other armed groups.

At least 305 civilians were killed by pro-government forces between January and March, 52.5 percent of all deaths in that period.

With the spike in violence, there is a growing desperation for peace among ordinary Afghans. “If the talks collapse, fighting will further intensify and the Afghan people will suffer more,” Azami said.

“The Taliban would try to increase their territorial control and put maximum pressure on the Afghan government by attempting to capture cities, including provincial capitals and taking control of major highways,” he said.

Azami said the Afghans and the rest of the world would have to deal with a “possible security vacuum in which groups such as al-Qaeda and ISIL found fertile ground”.

“Increased production of drugs and the overflow of refugees would pose serious challenges not only to Afghanistan but to the whole region and rest of the world,” he said.

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https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/05/taliban-talks-peace-afghanistan-190510062940394.html

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