September 20, 2021

Afghanistan: end of a round of talks in Doha, without a ceasefire agreement

The Taliban leader reiterated, Sunday, July 18, to remain ‘resolutely in favor of a political settlement’ in Afghanistan, but a new round of negotiations with representatives of the Afghan government in Doha in Qatar, ended without significant progress, in full insurgent offensive.

Talks that began in September have so far failed to reach an agreement, although the two sides said in a joint statement on Sunday evening that they had agreed on the need to find a ‘just solution’ and to meet again ‘ next week’.

Qatari mediator Moutlaq al-Qahtani, for his part, said that the two camps had ‘barely agreed’ to try ‘to avoid civilian victims’, far from the hoped-for ceasefire.

‘Instead of relying on foreigners, let’s solve our problems between us (Afghans) and save our homeland from the prevailing crisis,’ Taliban leader Hibatullah Akhundzada said in the morning, adding that ‘despite the progress and the victories military (…) we remain resolutely in favor of a political settlement (…) We are, for our part, determined to find a solution through discussions, but the camp opposite continues to waste time ‘.

No truce for Eid

In recent years, insurgents have sometimes announced truces on Muslim holidays, but the Taliban leader’s message makes no mention of a ceasefire on the occasion of Eid al-Adha. Muslim Sacrifice which lasts three days from July 20.

In his message, the Taliban leader unrolls a series of commitments from a future ‘Islamic Emirate’ in power in Kabul.

The Islamic Emirate was the name of the Taliban regime which ruled Afghanistan between 1996 and 2001 and was driven out by an international coalition led by the United States, after its refusal to hand over the leader of al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden. , in the wake of the September 11 attacks.

All-out offensive

Launched in early May, with the start of the final withdrawal of foreign forces from the country, the Taliban offensive encountered little resistance from the Afghan forces and enabled them to seize vast rural territories. Afghanistan and major border crossings with Iran, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Pakistan.

Pro-Afghan government fighters carried out 244 operations, killing 967 insurgent fighters, including key commanders, Afghan security forces spokesman Ajmal Omar Shinwari said on Sunday.

‘We have taken over 24 districts so far, our goal is to take back all the territories. We are ready to defend our country, ‘he added to the press.

Deprived of crucial American air support, the forces of the Afghan government now only control the major axes and the provincial capitals.

Some are surrounded by the insurgents but they have not launched a major offensive against these towns, with the exception of a brief incursion in July in Qala-i-Naw, capital of Badghis province, of which they were driven out after several days of fighting.