The two spokesmen for Afghan Taliban, Suhail Shaheen in Doha and Zabihullah Mujahid in Afghanistan confirmed the meeting with Khalilzad but certain senior Taliban leaders did not believe that it could help resume the peace process immediately.
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Suhail Shaheen in a tweet mentioned that their chief negotiator Mullah Abdul Ghani Biradar Akhund among Mullah Khan Muttaqi, Mullah Mohammad Fazil Mazloom and Mullah Khairullah Khairkhwa in the presence of foreign minister of Qatar met Zalmay Khalilzad and discussed the outcome of the peace process and some other important issues.
Two senior Taliban leaders said the meeting between their leaders and Khalilzad should not be considered as resuming the peace talks. They rather claimed the meeting was convened on the request of Zalmay Khalilzad by approaching the Qatar government on how to resume the peace process with the Taliban.
“Last time we had agreed on certain issues with the US after they asked us to declare a 10-day ceasefire. We were supposed to almost stop our operations without making it public and in return, the US and Afghan forces would cease all their operations against the Taliban,” said one Taliban leader on condition of anonymity. The Taliban claimed they had informed their commanders in Afghanistan after they agreed to a 10-day ceasefire last time to bring a “considerable decline in attacks” across Afghanistan.
According to the Taliban, they had nearly implemented the so-called “unannounced ceasefire” and reduced their attacks in Afghanistan.
They accused the US of making more demands later, including asking the Taliban not only to make public the ceasefire but consider it permanently, which the Taliban said, their top leadership had rejected.
According to Taliban sources, the US negotiation team lost their trust after the Taliban felt it lacked the decision-making power and rather kept making more demands.
The Taliban recently sent a council of influential religious scholars to Qatar and held a detailed meeting with the Taliban negotiators and assured them of full support of their decisions made in the peace process.
Also, Taliban sources said, the Ulema council asked their negotiators to even quit the peace process in case they felt the US officials were not sincere in the peace talks.
And it was a time that frustrated the Taliban and they accelerated their operations against the US and Afghan government by killing dozens of security personnel and causing damage to their infrastructure.
He claimed that it was after these attacks that the US approached Qatar leadership and they convened this meeting on Sunday.
“It’s not a resumption of the peace process, it is just a meeting on how to resume the peace talks and on what conditions,” he said. The Taliban claimed they had shot down three US planes in the past recent weeks.
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