Afghan expert says it won’t be easy for intra-Afgahn talks to achieve peace

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by Abdul Haleem

There will be a long way for the intra-Afghan dialogue to yield the desired result which is returning peace to the war-battered country, an Afghan expert said.

Hamidullah Arefi, editor-in-chief of the state-run newspaper The Kabul Times, made the remarks in an interview with Xinhua on Friday prior to the intra-Afghan dialogue reported to be held in Qatar soon.

A government negotiating team, according to its senior member Abdul Hafiz Mansoor, would soon leave for the Qatari capital Doha to kick off the dialogue with the Taliban.

“The U.S.-Taliban negotiations took 18 months to sign a peace deal and certainly the intra-Afghan dialogue would take more time than expected to yield the desired result which is returning peace,” Arefi maintained.

A total of 5,000 Taliban detainees from government jails and 1,000 Afghan security personnel at Taliban custody being freed was the precondition for the talks.

The exchange of 5,000 Taliban inmates with 1,000 Afghan troopers is part of the so-called U.S.-Taliban peace deal inked in late February in Doha to facilitate the intra-Afghan dialogue, and pave the way for the withdrawal of the U.S.-led foreign forces from Afghanistan so as to end the war in the country.

Although the precondition for talks has been almost met by both sides, the dialogue has yet to start, said the analyst, noting that the intra-Afghan dialogue was initially to start on March 10, but frequent delay in talks demonstrates the challenge facing the peace process.

According to the analyst, reports leaked from Taliban sources say that the armed group in talks with the Afghan government would demand abolishing the parliament and closing the door of the ministry for women affairs, which are believed to be hard to meet.

“The talks between government and the Taliban would finally lead to returning peace in Afghanistan, but it won’t be durable as some field commanders of the armed group and like-minded militants are against the peace process and instead pushing for military victory,” the expert said.

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