Afghan Taliban break silence over the results of intra Afghan negotiations

Afghan Taliban break silence over the results of intra Afghan negotiations

KABUL - The Afghan government and the Taliban are expected to attend the intra-Afghan negotiations by March 10, according to terms in the US-Taliban deal link, which says up to 5,000 Taliban prisoners should be released from the government’s custody by the same date.

Amir Khan Motaqi, a Taliban negotiator, who appeared with other members of the group in a video report by – a pro-Taliban website--said he is almost sure that an agreement will be achieved by the intra-Afghan talks, TOLO News has reported.

“We will reach a conclusion with Afghans in a better way – of course with Afghans who consider other Afghans’ interests and do not consider foreigners' interests,” Mottaqi said.

Another senior member of the group, Anas Haqqani, who was released from Bagram prison last November, called the release of 5,000 Taliban prisoners important but criticized “uncertainty” around the formation of the negotiating team from Kabul.

“They (the government in Kabul) expressed their opposition to peace and about the prisoners' release and now the people of Afghanistan should judge for themselves,” Haqqani said.

The Presidential Palace has not provided details of the negotiating team. But President Ghani last week suggested that the delegation should be limited in number and that it should be effective. On Saturday during the inauguration of the new year of the Afghan parliament, Ghani reiterated that the team will be ready by March 10.

A Taliban commander for the north, Mullah Suleiman Bahir, also speaking on the video, insisted that this was an opportunity for peace.

“We are happy about this decision. The enemy should make a good use of this opportunity,” Bahir said.

In Kabul, there are concerns among Afghans--both elites and everyday citizens--about the fate of rights and achievement made over the last 19 years if the Taliban returns to Afghanistan as part of a peace deal link. This matter was also raised by two analysts who also talked in the video report published by on Sunday.

“The Taliban should not tamper with improvements on the freedom of speech and political activities... They should accept them,” said Faiz Mohammad Zaland, a university professor.