Afghan government representatives and Taliban officials will resume peace talks in Qatar after a three-week break, officials said Monday, although battlefield clashes and targeted murders are at risk of undermining efforts to end the war.
The negotiations are expected to take place again on Tuesday, and are expected to address controversial issues such as power sharing and a ceasefire after both sides reach an initial agreement on the rules of procedure in December.
The talks began in Qatar in September after the Taliban reached an agreement to withdraw troops from the United States and Afghanistan and end the longest war in exchange for Taliban security guarantees.
The Taliban refused to recognize a government backed by the United States, which is a problem to be solved, said a member of the team representing the government.
In an interview with Reuters in Kabul before departing for Qatar, Hafizman Sur said, “We want a ceasefire and the provisional government is an undeniable topic of discussion because the Taliban are not ready to agree with the current government.
A Taliban spokesman did not respond to requests for comment.
In accordance with the terms of the US agreement with the Taliban, the formation of the “Islamic Government of Afghanistan after New Settlement” will be decided through negotiations between the two Afghan sides.
The government of President Ashrafghani was elected for a five-year term in 2019, but the Taliban refused to vote.
But brutal violence is quieting efforts to find peace.
Government officials have condemned the Taliban in recent weeks for a series of famous murders and bombings, including bureaucrats and journalists.
The Taliban rejected some accusations, but at the same time benefited from government forces fighting in various parts of the country.
The level of violence sometimes triggered western military intervention.
On Monday, Taliban spokesman Mercy Hula Mujahid said the US military raided rebels in violation of the agreement between the two sides.
A US military spokesman, Colonel Sonny Regett, called for less violence, saying the strike was defensive and not a violation of the agreement.
European officials have also urged both sides to reduce hostilities and move toward an agreement quickly.
The United States has shrunk its presence in Afghanistan almost 20 years after intervening with its allies to overthrow the Taliban, weeks after the attacks on US cities on September 11, 2001.
Afghan security officials predict that the size of the US military will be reduced to about 2,500 earlier this year.