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Qatar to host New round of talks between the US and Taliban

Qatar is reportedly hosting a new round of talks between the US and Taliban as part of its commitment to bring peace in Afghanistan. The peninsula remains committed to its role as a mediator and coordinator in negotiating a political solution for war-torn country.

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News Desk |

Zalmay Khalilzad, the United State Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, in a tweet on Sunday announced new round of talks between the US and Taliban starting from June 29 in Doha.

The seventh round of negotiations between the US and Taliban are set to begin in the peninsula, where the Taliban are being hosted in a bid to restore peace in the war-torn Afghanistan.

The announcement for the new round of talks comes a month after the sixth round of peace talks between the two parties culminated in Doha resulting in relative progress.

Steady Progress

Although the last round of peace talks was widely acknowledged for its “steady progress” by both parties involved, the US Special Representative Khalilzad expressed dissatisfaction over the pace of the talks as Taliban led attacks on civilians continued despite the partial withdraw.

Qatar has been hosting the Taliban talks since 2010 on the request of its key strategic ally, the US and has since faced severe criticism for hosting the Taliban. 

The Taliban has consistently demanded a complete withdrawal of US military troops from Afghanistan since it overthrew the Taliban-led government after September 9, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York City, US.

However, the US in return demands the complete structural dismantling of the Taliban in Afghanistan for its alleged role in US attacks in 2001.

Moreover, the Taliban does not recognize the Afghan government under President Ashraf Ghani, who it considers to be part of the “western agenda”. The efforts to restore peace in the region will however continue as part of the upcoming round of talks between the US and Taliban in Doha.

Qatar’s Commitment to bring Peace in Afghanistan

Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani in March had expressed that the talks being hosted by his country to negotiate a peaceful political solution in Afghanistan had a positive outcome.

Read more: Afghan peace talks and opportunities it brings for region

He further affirmed Qatar’s commitment to the peace talks stating that the country will continue to play its role as a mediator, consultant and coordinator in the historic rounds of negotiations. His statement came days before the US and Taliban had met in a bid to finalize a draft agreement that led to the partial withdrawal of the US military forces from Afghanistan.

Qatar has been hosting the Taliban talks since 2010 on the request of its key strategic ally, the US and has since faced severe criticism for hosting the Taliban. 

Hosting the Taliban – a Bone of Contention for the UAE

On June 5, 2017, the Saudi-Emirati-dominated Gulf bloc  imposed an economic and political blockade on Qatar, citing Qatar’s alleged support to terrorist group including the Taliban. Qatar denied all accusations and stated that hosting the Taliban was a commitment to its strategic alliance with the US.

Read more: Afghan peace talks and opportunities it brings for region

The UAE, part of the blockading quartet, had reportedly expressed anger over US selection of Qatar for hosting the Taliban talks. Hacked e-mails of the UAE ambassador to the US Yousef Al Otaiba showed the efforts of the Emirati state to negotiate Taliban talks in Abu Dhabi. One of the e-mails by Otaiba had reportedly cited the Taliban talks in Qatar as a major reason behind Emirati blockade on the tiny peninsula.

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