Doha talks
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Taliban express optimism about Doha talks, government says it moves too slow

On the first anniversary of the US-Taliban agreement and after almost eight months of direct peace negotiations with the Afghan government, the Taliban have expressed optimism about the future prospect of peace talks. In a statement issued today, February 28, the Taliban have said that despite few shortcomings, the peace agreement moves smoothly toward a “positive direction.”

The group has claimed that they have refrained from attacking major military bases of Afghan forces. The group claims that as stipulated in the agreement, the Taliban are committed to abiding by their obligations.

The government, however, expressed concern about the prospect of peace talks with the Taliban, noting that time was wasted while little progress has been made. The government said the Taliban have not reduced violence and attacks.

In a tweet, Rahmatullah Andar, spokesman for the National Security Council, said that the peace pact signed between the US and the Taliban has not met the expectation of Afghanistan’s people. “This pact has brought a ceasefire between America and the Taliban but Taliban’s relation with the people of [Afghanistan] remains as it was in the past. They kill, loot, assassinate and terrorize [the Afghans].”

Faraidon Khawazon, a spokesperson for Afghanistan’s High Council for National Reconciliation, said the agreement provides a “historic” opportunity for peace but he accused the Taliban of not obeying the terms of the agreement that obliges the militants to put an end to violence, engage in meaningful talks and cut ties with terrorist groups.

The Taliban has accused the US of not fulfilling their commitments fully. They demand the US to remove the group leaders from the sanction list of the UN Security Council.

This is while the number of civilian casualties in 2020 reached 8,820 (3,05 killed and 5,785 injured), according to a UNAMA report. According to UNAMA, “more women were killed in the conflict in 2020 than any year since UNAMA began systematic documentation in 2009. In total 1,150 women and children were killed, 390 women and 760 children.”

Masoud Andarabi, the interior minister, who was on an official visit to the southern Kandahar province, said today that the Taliban fighters were under a siege of the Afghan security forces in Arghandab. As many as 600 Taliban fighters have so far been killed in the operation jointly conducted by Afghan defense and security forces, according to Andarabi. The militants would be killed if they did not surrender, he warned.