Afghan men look out from a damaged window of their building at the site of a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan. File/Reuters
Gulf Today Report
A string of assassinations has sowed fear and chaos across Afghanistan as government representatives and Taliban officials are due to resume their power-sharing talks, although battlefield clashes and targeted killings risk undermining efforts to end the war.
The talks began in Qatar in September months after the Taliban reached an agreement with the United States allowing it to pull its troops out of Afghanistan and end its longest war in exchange for Taliban security guarantees.
Senior officials Taliban arrive to the signing of a US-Taliban agreement in Doha. File/AFP
The officials said on Monday, the two Afghan sides got bogged down on procedures for weeks but in December they reached an agreement on the process, clearing the way for them to get down to the issues when they resume their negotiations on Tuesday (Tomorrow).
“Talks are a complicated process but the Afghan government and the negotiating team, with regard to the interest of the people of Afghanistan, are determined to take the process forwards,” said Najia Anwari, a spokeswoman for the Ministry for Peace Affairs.
But Afghan government officials have in recent weeks accused the Taliban of a string of high-profile murders, including of bureaucrats and journalists, and bomb attacks.
The Taliban have rejected some of the accusations but at the same time, the insurgents have made gains against government forces in fighting in various parts of the country.
US and European officials said they have urged both sides to reduce hostilities and move quickly towards a negotiated settlement.
The United States has been scaling back its presence in Afghanistan nearly 20 years after it intervened with its allies to overthrow the Taliban in the weeks after the Sept.11, 2001, attacks on US cities.
Afghan security officials expect the size of the US force to dwindle to about 2,500 troops early this year.
The Taliban have been fighting since 2001 to oust foreign forces and reimpose their version of Islamic rule.
The move, days after US President Donald Trump cancelled a planned meeting with Taliban leaders at his Camp David retreat, came as the movement looks to bolster regional support, with visits also planned for China, Iran and Central Asian states.
An eighth round of talks on a pact that would allow the United States to end its longest war and withdraw its troops from Afghanistan ended on Monday and both sides would consult
The US, which invaded Afghanistan and toppled the Taliban in 2001, wants to withdraw thousands of troops and turn the page on its longest ever war.
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