US seeks peace agreement with Taliban swiftly: report

09:27 PM | 18 Dec, 2018
US seeks peace agreement with Taliban swiftly: report
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ISLAMABAD - After having spent 17 years in Afghanistan, Washington is rushing to sign a peace pact with the Taliban to bring an end to the long-standing war, it has emerged.

Currently, Afghan Taliban and US are enagged in dialogue in Qatar for which Pakistan is playing a pivotal role, however, the Trump administration is eyeing a swift end to the conflict that has dealt a blow to US economy and society as well.

The latest round of negotiations took place on Monday and reports are rife that the US is now in a hurry for a fruitful conclusion.

According to sources close to the developments, US wanted Taliban to announce a six-month ceasefire, join the national unity government that is to be installed in future and become part of the Afghan political system.

In return, Taliban want the US to release all their prisoners, lift ban on movement of their leaders from the blacklist and announce a deadline for withdrawal from Afghanistan, The News reported.

A source close to the Afghan Taliban explained that currently, 95 per cent of the attacks on US and Afghan forces are being carried out by the Taliban and a ceasefire would benefit US and Kabul regime, not the Taliban.

He continued that Taliban would like to oblige Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Pakistan but it would not be an easy job to announce a ceasefire at the moment.

On the other hand, Taliban sources said they could announce a ceasefire if Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and UAE become the guarantors and the future caretaker government is given to someone nominated by the Taliban.

Afghan Taliban Spokesman has strongly denied reports that Taliban delegation would also be meeting with the Afghan government confirming that UAE, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan were also participating in the peace talks.

A five-member Taliban delegation, headed by Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanakzai, head of Taliban political office in Qatar, went from Qatar while four senior Taliban leaders, including Ameer Khan Muttaqi, Mullah Abbas Akhund, Hafiz Yahya and Maulvi Siddiqullah had traveled from Afghanistan for holding direct talks with the US.

Sources close to the Taliban also revealed that Qatar was not happy at the venue of peace talks which is UAE adding that Qatar didn't allow some other members of the Afghan Taliban when they attempted to fly to the UAE for latest peace talks.

Qatar was the first country that offered its soil to Taliban to establish their political office and apparently, Saudi Arabia and the UAE held the peace talks in the UAE to sideline Qatar.

Moreover, in the global power game, the US wanted to keep China and Russia away from the peace talks though both have offered  willingness to play a part for the process.

Another source, on the condition of anonymity, disclosed that Taliban had good terms with all the regional powers and can't afford to offend any country, particularly Qatar, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Iran, China and Russia.

"The peace talks between the US and Taliban will continue for three days. According to Taliban sources, the next round of talks would take place in Saudi Arabia," he added.

The US wanted Pakistan to use its influence on the Taliban for peace talks for which Zalmay Khalilzad also visited Islamabad earlier this month.

Prime Minister Imran Khan recently claimed to have organized the meeting between the US and Taliban and in a fresh tweet, the premier vowed that the country would be doing everything in this regard.

Insiders also claim that if Pakistan convinces Taliban, top US officials have offered to help it get a financial package from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to curtail the Balance of Payment crisis.

Pakistan's Foreign Office Spokesperson, Dr Mohammad Faisal confirmed that the talks are being held in the UAE, and said the country hopes for an end to bloodshed in Afghanistan.

"Along with international community and other stakeholders, Pakistan is committed to peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan. Talks are being held in the UAE. We hope this will end the bloodshed in Afghanistan and bring peace to the region," he tweeted.