Daily US Times: As US President Joe Biden prepares for the formal withdrawal of American soldiers from Afghanistan, the man responsible for peace talks between the official Afghan government and the rampant Taliban is not entirely optimistic about the country’s future.
Abdullah Abdullah, an Afghan official who leads the High Council for National Reconciliation, said in an interview with CNN that talks between the two parties had made “very little progress” and were happening at a “very slow pace”.
Speaking from his residence in Afghan capital Kabul, Abdullah acknowledged that the Taliban has “gained momentum” following weeks of the militants releasing propaganda videos from military bases, claiming that Afghan forces had fled.
The Taliban has accused the government of Afghanistan of not engaging with the intra-Afghan peace negotiations in Doha.
Taliban political office spokesman Mohammad Naeem said in a video statement: “Our intention was to make some progress, but the opposite side was not interested in the peace talks.” The video was released yesterday and obtained by CNN.
The Taliban spokesperson accused the Afghan government’s negotiating team of being incomplete during May’s peace talks in Doha, due to some of its members being “physically present in the battlefield” and “busy in war.”
Deborah Lyons, the UN’s special envoy on Afghanistan, said last week that 50 of Afghanistan’s 370 districts had fallen to Taliban militants since May.
While Abdullah did not directly blame the Taliban’s gains on the upcoming US withdrawal, he told CNN that “had it been our choice … we would have thought differently.”
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