Afghanistan's Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates has said that the Afghan peace talks which have stalled in Qatar should rotate among several countries, Reuters has reported. Javid Ahmad also accused Qatar of not putting enough pressure on the Taliban to reduce the level of violence in the country.
Talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban have been held in Doha since last year, after the US agreed to withdraw its forces from Afghanistan. However, violence is on the rise and the government accuses the militants of failing to meet their obligations to reduce attacks.
Ambassador Ahmad told Reuters that the peace talks should not be held in one place, but should take place alternately in Europe, Asia, the Middle East or Afghanistan. He added that the Taliban movement, which opened an office in Qatar in 2013, is "very satisfied" there.
"We want the Taliban to get out of that comfort zone," he explained. "The Qataris could have used their role as hosts to take a more active and decisive role in pushing the Taliban to reduce violence or declare a ceasefire. They did not use their status as the hosts."
Since publication of this story, Ambassador Ahmad used Twitter to clarify that his remarks were his own, and not that of the Afghan government.
My comments in this story reflect my personal view and not that of the Afghan govt. The Afghan govt's commitment to peace is unwavering, in line with the desires of the Afghan people. In that regard, Afghanistan appreciates Qatar's efforts in Afghan peace. https://t.co/2tSnvHJCSJ
— Javid Ahmad (@ahmadjavid) March 15, 2021
The Qatari government liaison office said that Doha is committed to help the Afghans by hosting talks and wants to ensure the decrease of violence levels, which would lead to peace and security in the country. The authorities in the Gulf State added that the ongoing negotiations between representatives of the Afghan government and the Taliban show that the peace talks are paying off.
Meanwhile, Russia will hold a conference to discuss the Afghan issue this week, while Turkey will host talks next month. The US is working to revitalise the process by proposing the creation of an interim Afghan government.
Ahmad said that the inclusive government in Afghanistan "has the capacity to contain the Taliban and ex-combatants," but added that holding elections is the only way to achieve the transfer of power.
The former US administration of President Donald Trump signed a deal with the Taliban to withdraw troops in February 2020. Under the deal, all international forces are expected to withdraw from Afghanistan by 1 May this year.
NOTE: This page was updated at 15.53 GMT on 17 March 2021 to include clarifying remarks by Ambassador Ahmad that the comments were his own, and not of his government.