Umer Daudzai, President Ghani’s special aide for regional consensus on peace says the Taliban will have face-to-face talks with the Afghan government within months.
Speaking in an interview with a Pakistani TV channel, Daudzai said that the Taliban was always putting forward in excuse that they wanted to talk to the United States in first step and then to the Afghan government.
In order to break that obstacle, he said the Afghan government has given the permission to the United States to begin direct talks with the Taliban.
Daudzai stressed that after meeting with U.S. officials, the Taliban have shared their demands on the table and that the U.S. has shared it with the Afghan government and political elites.
“As far as that level goes we are happy. So far, we don’t have any reservations,” he said.
The official, meanwhile, noted the understanding between Washington and Kabul was that the U.S. officials will meet Taliban representatives several times and then the Taliban will sit face-to-face with the Afghan government.
But “that hasn’t yet happened,” Daudzai said. “We have not lost hope. In fact, our hope has increased that soon inshallah Taliban will sit face-to-face with the Afghan government.”
The Taliban was expected to meet the Kabul negotiating team in the second phase of the recent Abu Dhabi multinational meeting, but the Taliban refused to talk as they said they were not authorized by their leadership council.
“When Taliban’s position became clear that they are not authorized by their leadership council and they cannot meet with the Afghan delegation then, there was a bit of confusion; unhappy words were exchanged between Khalilzad & Taliban and between Pakistan & Taliban. Saudis and UAE were also very upset with Taliban that they all let them down because they brought the Afghan government’s negotiating team and now they [Taliban] are not meeting with them,” Daudzai said.
“It was a kind of mismanagement and misunderstanding that we all learned a good lesson from,” he added.
Daudzai, however, assured that the Taliban will meet the Afghan government delegation “within months”. He also said that he is convinced that 2019 will be the year of peace for Afghanistan.
“2019 will be the year, where we will be witnessed the signing of the final peace deal,” the official said.