Mon, 28 Sep 2020

Moscow [Russia], May 29 (ANI): Days after the Afghan government released hundreds of Taliban prisoners as part of the peace deal with the United States, the UN Security Council was expected to vote on lifting sanctions over the group. But the matter has been squashed as certain conditions mandated by the deal has yet to be met.

In an interview with Turkey's Anadolu Agency, Russia's presidential envoy for Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov said, "This was supposed to be done by May 29 on condition that the inter-Afghan talks had to start by March 10, but they have not yet been launched.""This process is being delayed due to the unfinished exchange of prisoners between the parties to the conflict and the absence of a negotiating team from Kabul, which was not formed due to differences between [Afghan President] Ashraf Ghani and [Ghani's political rival] Abdullah Abdullah. But even after these politicians made an agreement on May 17, the Taliban declared its non-recognition," he said.

The issue of lifting sanctions from members of the Taliban "is an integral part of the process of transferring the Taliban from terrorist organisations to a political structure", and integrating it into the peaceful life of the country, according to Kabulov.

He expects the UN Security Council to put the issue on its agenda after representatives of Kabul, other political forces, and the Taliban begin direct inclusive inter-Afghan negotiations on national reconciliation.

Asked about the Taliban's ability to control its military wing and force it to adhere to agreements reached with the US, Kabulov said recent developments show its political office in Doha, Qatar is "more or less successfully controlling the situation in the ranks of the movement.""So far we see that the Taliban leadership is more or less successfully controlling the situation in the ranks of the movement. This is confirmed by the Taliban's compliance with the seven-day period of reducing violence just before the signing of the agreement with the US in February this year, as well as their compliance with the terms of this document related to non-aggression against foreign military contingents in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, the Doha agreement does not provide for the cessation of the Taliban's military operations against government forces," he said.

Zalmay Khalilzad, the US negotiator who brokered the February 29 agreement with the Taliban, urged "support for an immediate reduction in violence, accelerated timeline for the start of intra-Afghan negotiations, and cooperation among all sides in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic in Afghanistan," a State Department statement said.

However, on Thursday, seven members of the Afghan security forces were killed in an attack officially claimed by the Taliban, the first deadly assault since the end of a three-day ceasefire.

The temporary truce reached between the Taliban and Kabul owing to Eid-ul-Fitr ended on Tuesday but a lull in the country's grinding violence has largely been held, triggering fears that attacks may start anytime soon.

Taliban fighters attacked a checkpoint in Parwan, north of the capital, early Thursday, said Waheeda Shahkar, spokeswoman for the provincial governor.

The US invaded Afghanistan after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, and the 19 years of US involvement plus related conflicts have cost the lives of over 100,000 civilians and forced millions to flee their homes.

The UN has repeatedly urged that opportunities for peace in the region be seized. (ANI)

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