Taliban leader “promotes political settlement” of Afghan conflict

Taliban leader “promotes political settlement” of Afghan conflict

The Taliban’s supreme leader, Haibatullah Akhunzada, said he “strongly favors” a political settlement of the conflict in Afghanistan even as the group launched a large-scale offensive across the country.
Sunday’s announcement comes as representatives of the Afghan government and armed Taliban fighters gathered for a new round of talks in Doha over the weekend, raising hopes that stalled peace talks will resume.

“Despite military gains and advances, the Islamic Emirate [of Afghanistan] vigorously promotes a political settlement in the country, ”Akhunzada said in a message released ahead of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha next week.

“Every opportunity to establish an Islamic system of peace and security that presents itself will be used by the Islamic Emirate,” he added.

For months, the two sides met intermittently in the Qatari capital, but achieved little to no notable success, with talks appearing to have lost momentum as the Taliban group made significant gains on the battlefield, especially with foreign forces. finalize their withdrawal from Afghanistan.

The two sides resumed talks in Doha on Saturday.

The Taliban leader said his group remained determined to find a solution to end the war, but criticized “the opposition parties” for “wasting time.”

“Our message remains that instead of relying on foreigners, let’s solve our problems among ourselves and save our homeland from the current crisis,” he added.

Osama Bin Javaid of Al Jazeera said that Akhunzada discussed the issues raised by the Afghan people and the international community in the “elaborate” Eid message, where he spoke about the rights of women and minorities, the role security forces and how relations might be between a Taliban-dominated Afghanistan and its neighbors.

“Throughout the first day of the talks, the atmosphere was described as favorable, and everything was discussed on the table,” Bin Javaid said, speaking outside of the Doha talks.

“There has been a lot of hope that the Afghan people have bet on these talks, and the big question is what they will give up. “

Bin Javaid said both sides are determined to try to get the other side to pass, but it remains to be seen whether anything concrete will emerge from the latest round of talks in Doha.

Taliban offensives

Taliban fighters took advantage of the final stages of the withdrawal of US and foreign troops from Afghanistan to launch a series of lightning strikes over large swathes of the country.

The group is now believed to control about half of the country’s 400 districts, several important border posts, and has besieged a series of vital provincial capitals.

The Taliban have long seemed to be united, operating under an effective chain of command and waging complex military campaigns despite perpetual rumors of a split among the organization’s leaders.

Questions remain about the firmness of the Taliban leadership’s hand with commanders on the ground and whether they will be able to convince them to abide by a possible deal if it is signed.

In particular, the leader’s statement made no mention of a formal call for a ceasefire for the Eid holidays.

Over the years, the Taliban have announced a series of short truces during religious holidays that initially raised hopes that a further reduction in violence would be implemented in the country.

However, the group has more recently come under criticism for using temporary ceasefires to supply and replenish their fighters, allowing them to launch fierce attacks against Afghan security forces once the truce expires.

The US-led military coalition has been present in Afghanistan for nearly 20 years following an invasion launched in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Fears are growing that Afghan forces will be overwhelmed without the vital air support they provide, allowing a full military takeover by the Taliban or the start of a multifaceted civil war in a country inundated with large stockpiles of weapons after nearly 40 years of fighting.


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