On Saturday November 9th, a source close to the Taliban told Ariana News, that a delegation from the Office of Afghanistan’s National Security Council has secretly travelled to Qatar, with the intention of meeting with the political representatives of the Taliban insurgent group.
Waheed Muzhda, a pro-Taliban political analyst who is familiar with the talks, said that the delegation will ask Taliban to announce a ceasefire in exchange for the release of their prisoners, including Anas Haqqani, a key member of the Haqqani Network.
According to Muzhda, President Ashraf Ghani’s delegation will also call on the Taliban to hold direct talks with Afghan government negotiators, during an intra-Afghan meeting that will be held in Beijing, in the near future.
However, Taliban leaders have not agreed to meet with Ghani’s visiting delegation in Doha, the capital of Qatar, a source close to Taliban said. Currently, the Afghan delegation is meeting with Qatari officials.
The Taliban’s political office in Qatar has declined comment.
Second Vice President Mohammad Sarwar Danish on Friday said that the Afghan government is ready to release the Taliban prisoners in order to help promote confidence-building measures and create conditions for peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban.
Danish emphasized that the Taliban must show their desire for peace by agreeing to a ceasefire.
However, the Office of the National Security Council of Afghanistan (ONSC) has rejected the report saying that, “No delegation from National Security Council of Afghanistan has been sent to any country to negotiate with the Taliban on any issue. We have always been very open and clear in any step taken towards the peace and dialogue.”