Afghan peace talks (file photo). Photograph:( Reuters )
Negotiators from both sides decided to take a break in early December after months of discussions that were bogged down by disputes on the basic framework of discussions and religious interpretations
Despite Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani's calls for Afghan peace talks to be moved home, the next roundof negotiations are set to take place in Qatar, said AFP quoting a top official on Sunday. The talks are likely to begin next month. The peace talks began at a luxury hotel in Doha on September 12 but negotiations are currently on a break until January 5.
"The second round of talks will begin on January 5 in Doha," said Faraidoon Khwazoon, spokesman for Afghanistan's High Council for National Reconciliation, which is leading the overall peace process in the country.
"The leadership committee of the council ... decided to hold the talks in Doha," he tweeted, adding that many of the countries that had earlier volunteered to host the talks withdrew their offers because of Covid-19.
The Afghan presidency tweeted in a separate statement that Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah who heads the council, held a meeting on Sunday.
The statement said that both of them discussed the next venue of talks.
Negotiators from both sides decided to take a break in early December after months of discussions that were bogged down by disputes on the basic framework of discussions and religious interpretations.
"It is not appropriate to insist on holding talks in luxurious hotels. It is necessary that the people see how the talks happen, which issues are focused on and why," Ghani said soon after the break in talks was announced.
The Taliban did not comment on Ghani's call, but they have in the past always refused to hold the negotiations in Afghanistan.
The insurgent group has a political office in Doha and its negotiating team resides there.
The talks follow a landmark troop withdrawal deal signed in February by the Taliban and Washington, which will see all foreign soldiers leave the violence-wracked country by May next year.
(With AFP inputs)