The two sides issued a joint statement following the two-day talks in Doha as violence rages in Afghanistan…reports Asian Lite News

The Afghan government and Taliban have agreed to expedite the efforts to restore peace in Afghanistan and continue high-level talks.

The two sides issued a joint statement following the two-day talks in Doha as violence rages in Afghanistan, ToloNews reported.

However, the two sides fell short to mention de-escalation of violence or ceasefire.

Abdullah Abdullah, the chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation and the head of the 7-member delegation of Afghan politicians in talks with the Taliban, assured the participants of the Afghan government’s firm will and commitment for peace and said the two days of negotiations were a good opportunity for both sides to clearly share their position to each other.

They agreed to find a common ground to move the country forward from the current situation, as per the statement.

The two sides agreed to protect the country’s civilian infrastructure, prevent civilian casualties, and cooperate with humanitarian assistance, the statement added.

Both Afghan government and Taliban have thanked Qatar for hosting the talks and other countries for their support of the peace process.

However, Taliban spokesperson Mohammad Naeem said the delegations of the Afghan government and the Taliban movement have been unable to agree on a ceasefire during the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha or release of imprisoned Taliban members, Sputnik reported.

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“According to some media reports, a several-day ceasefire or a release of some prisoners was agreed on at the two-day high-level intra-Afghan meeting in Doha. This information does not correspond to reality. Such an agreement has not been reached,” Naeem tweeted.

Afghanistan has witnessed a spike in violence in recent weeks. Taliban have stepped up offensive since the foreign forces began to withdraw from the country in May. The United States and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) forces will complete military drawdown till the end of August.

Taliban is taking control of more and more territory in Afghanistan, while Afghan forces have launched a counteroffensive to thwart the terrorists.

Earlier, the supreme leader of the Taliban Hibatullah Akhundzada said he ‘strenuously favours’ a political settlement to the ongoing conflict.

Soon after a senior delegation of the Afghan government and Taliban representatives met in Doha for high-stakes negotiations, the chief of insurgents released an official statement ahead of Eid Ul-Adha, reported Daily Pakistan.

“In spite of the military gains and advances, the Islamic Emirate strenuously favours a political settlement in the country”, it stated.

Akhundzada further added that “Every opportunity for the establishment of an Islamic system, peace and security that presents itself will be made use of by the Islamic Emirate.”

The top Taliban leader also said that his group remained committed to forging a solution to end the war but ‘slammed the opposition parties for wasting time’.

“Let us resolve our issues among ourselves and rescue our homeland from the prevailing crisis instead of relying on foreigners”, the statement further added.

Meanwhile, Taliban have captured several areas of the country amid the withdrawal of the US and other foreign troops from Afghanistan. (ANI)

ALSO READ: More than 50 Taliban militants dead in Afghanistan in 24 hrs

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