Negotiation team readies for intra-Afghan peace talks

An Afghan negotiation team has started its consultations with lawmakers as hopes remain high that the peace talks with the Taliban will begin soon, despite a UN report stating an increase of militant attacks in the country.

The report, that will be presented to the UN Security Council this week, indicates that 5,543 security incidents happened between February 7 and May 14, a 2 per cent increase compared with the same period from last year, TOLO News reported.

The Taliban however has rejected the report, saying their attacks have been reduced by 40 per cen.

On Sunday, Nader Nadery, a member of the team, said: “Demands are about how to preserve the (government) system and its main pillars, like the national army and the national police.”

A delay in the release of the remaining Taliban prisoners by the Afghan government is one of the reasons that have postponed the start of the intra-Afghan negotiations, according to those familiar with the issue.

But another member of the negotiations team, Fawzia Kofi, said the coronavirus pandemic was the main reason.

“The rules and regulations of host countries on the prevention of the coronavirus are the main reason behind the delay in the negotiations,” TOLO News quoted Kofi as saying.

Meanwhile, presidential spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said: “We have made critical steps. A large number of Taliban prisoners were released to ensure peace and an end violence (in the country). Now is the time for the Taliban (to determine what steps) they will take in response to our attempts.”