Taliban shadow chief justice signals green light for peace talks

The Taliban Shadow Chief Justice Mawlawi Abdul Hakim in a signed letter has called for peace in Afghanistan. The letter was also indicating rifts and dissensions within the Taliban.

The letter purportedly has been released by the people affiliated to Taliban Shadow Chief Justice in Herat province, in which Mawlawi Abdul Hakim addressed the Taliban leader Habtullah Akhundzada to respond to the Afghan people’s “legitimate demands” for peace.

The letter indicates a green light for peace talks with the Taliban and rift and dissensions within the militant group’s leadership.

In the letter, Mawlawi Hakim has welcomed the latest 3-day ceasefire between the Taliban and the government in which the fighters of the group were able to enter the cities and celebrate Eid days with people.

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Taliban reject Afghan gov’t’s peace proposal

The Taliban have rejected the Afghan government’s peace proposal being offered to the group at the Kabul Process II conference on Wednesday.

The rejection came in reply to an “Open Letter” published this week in the New Yorker magazine in which the Taliban was urged to accept talks with the Kabul government.

“Our country has been occupied, which has led to an American-style supposed Afghan government being imposed upon us,” the Taliban response said.

“And your view that we talk to them and accept their legitimacy is the same formula adopted by America to win the war,” it said, adding that the Kabul Process II meeting was simply aimed at seeking the “surrender” of the Taliban.

In reaction, the Afghan Chief Executive office’s Deputy Spokesman Omaid Maisam said that the government will reconsider its decision if the Taliban continue to cause horror, bloodshed and refuse peace offers.

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Islamabad reportedly asked Taliban to join peace talks or leave Pakistan

The Taliban leaders based in Pakistan have reportedly been asked to join peace talks or leave the country along with the family members.

“The squeeze is continuing on them [the Taliban] and some have already left, or [are] leaving the country,” a senior Pakistani official told VOA in background interview.

According to the report, the latest crackdown by Islamabad has forced the Taliban leaders based in Qatar to send a delegation to Islamabad to take up the issue with Pakistani officials.

Earlier, reports emerged that the Taliban delegation had visited Islamabad to brief the Pakistani officials regarding the secret informal talks between the group and Afghan officials.

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Taliban, Afghan Govt Resume Secret Talks Amid Deadly Battles

The Taliban and negotiators from the Afghan government have resumed secret talks in Doha of Qatar, a source close to the Presidential Palace (ARG) confirmed on Tuesday, adding that the National Security Advisor Mohammad Hanif Atmar and Mohammad Masum Stanekzai, head the National Directorate of Security (NDS) represented government delegation in the talks.

Meanwhile, the Presidential Palace in a statement said government will use all options that could help to clinch groundbreaking peace agreement with the militant group.

“The Afghan government firmly believes in a dignified and sustainable peace. For this purpose, Kabul will use all options and sources, but within the framework of the law,” said Dawa Khan Minapal, deputy spokesman for President Ashraf Ghani.

According to a report published in Britain’s Guardian newspaper, among those present at the meetings held last month was Mullah Abdul Manan Akhund, brother of Mullah Omar, Taliban’s founding leader, who led the movement from its earliest days until his death in 2013.

“The two rounds of the talks are the first known negotiations to have taken place since a Pakistan-brokered process entirely broke down following the death in a US drone strike of Omar’s successor, Mullah Akhtar Mans” read the report.

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Taliban’s Divided Faction Criticize Hibatullah’s Appointment

Criticizing the appointment of Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada as Taliban’s new leader, Mullah Mannan Niazi, spokesman for the Taliban’s breakaway faction led by Mullah Rassoul, said on Sunday that the newly appointed leader is a puppet of Pakistan – just as his predecessor, Mullah Mansour, was.

He said Mullah Rassoul’s faction wants an Islamic government in Afghanistan and that foreign troops should not stay in the country as invaders.

He said: “Hibatullah was appointed by those who appointed Mansour as Taliban’s leader. It is part of the conspiracy that has started against the Taliban in the past.”

“Those that are killed in the country are killed as a result of the fatwa issued by the unjust muftis that now claim they are leading Taliban. They are our killers and their hands are stained with our blood,” he added.

The withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan has been one of the main pre-conditions of terrorist groups in terms of joining the peace process, but this time, the breakaway faction of the Taliban brought up the issue, with a slightly different angle.

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Political Parties Cautiously Welcome Hekmatyar Deal

After months of tough negotiations, the Afghan government and Hizb-e-Islami finally signed a draft peace accord in Kabul on Wednesday – a move that has been cautiously welcomed by Afghan political parties.

Led by former Jihadi commander Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, Hizb-e-Islami is the second largest militant group after the Taliban that has been active in armed struggles against the Afghan government and its foreign partners.

While analysts believe that Hekmatyar’s return to peace could be a template to ending the war with the Taliban, Afghan political parties however have asked government to take national interests into consideration while forging peace with the militant group and that the nation’s gains and interests should not be undermined in the peace negotiation process.

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Gulbuddin Hekmatyar has changed his conditions for peace process

The leader of Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin Hekmatyar has reportedly changed his his conditions for peace process with the Afghan government by stepping back from his demands for the complete withdrawal of foreign forces, it has been reported.

An official of Hezb-e-Islami Amin Karim has told The Associated Press that Hekmatyar is no longer demanding that all foreign troops leave Afghanistan.

This comes as Hekmatyar earlier demanded for the complete withdrawal of the foreign forces from Afghanistan in a bid to pave the way for peace talks, a similar demand the Taliban group is sticking to.

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Mullah Rasool says will not participate in peace talks led by Mullah Akhtar Mansoor

Mullah Rasool and Mullah AkhtarThe dissident Taliban leader Mullah Rasool has said he will not participate in peace talks with the government which is led by the Taliban supreme leader Mullah Akhtar Mansoor.

In an interview with the UK-based Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), Mullah Rasool has said he is not opposed to reconciliation in principle, insisting that he opposes with Mansoor’s hegemony over the process as far as the Taliban are concerned.

“Earlier we were thinking that the Afghan Government wanted peace talks with all Taliban, but when we saw that it is interested only in making peace with Mullah Mansur because of the dictates of the Pakistani Government, we decided we cannot start peace talks with the Afghan Government,” Rasool added.

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Over 70 Percent Of Afghans Pessimistic About Peace Talks: Survey

More than 70 percent of people in Afghanistan are not optimistic about peace talks between government and the Taliban.

Based on a survey conducted by the Afghan Institute for Strategic Studies (AISS) in 15 provinces, more than 70 percent of those interviewed believe that peace talks between government and the Taliban will fail.

“70.6 percent of the interviewed people said peace talks in Afghanistan have been a failure all the while,” said Ghulam Reza Ebrahimi, a member of the AISS.

Based on the survey, most people are also concerned that human rights and women’s rights will be compromised in the talks. The survey shows that people are also concerned about transparency of the talks.

“62 percent of the interviewees said that women can play an important role in bringing peace and 60 percent believed the situation would deteriorate for women after peace with the Taliban,” said Ali Karimi, another member of the AISS.

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