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Taliban plan to present peace proposal to Afghan government

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Although the Taliban have made rapid territorial gains following the withdrawal of US and NATO troops, a spokesperson for the Islamist group said they will present a peace proposal to the Afghan government after decades of war as soon as next month.

The Taliban plan to present a written peace proposal to the Afghan government side as soon as next month, a spokesman for the Islamist insurgents said even as they make major territorial gains following the withdrawal of foreign forces.

Hundreds of Afghan security force members have fled into neighbouring Tajikistan in the face of Taliban advances since the United States vacated its main Afghan base Bagram in northern Kabul – the centrepiece of US and NATO might for almost two decades in the country – as foreign forces leave the country ahead of US President Joe Biden’s September 11 deadline.

While the transfer of Bagram Air Base to the Afghan army added momentum to a Taliban drive to seize control over new districts, Taliban leaders renewed the long-stalled talks with Afghan government envoys in Qatar’s capital Doha last week.

“The peace talks and process will be accelerated in the coming days … and they are expected to enter an important stage, naturally it will be about peace plans,” Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid told Reuters on Monday.

“Possibly it will take a month to reach that stage when both sides will share their written peace plan,” he said, adding that the latest round of talks were at a critical juncture.

“Although we [the Taliban] have the upper hand on the battlefield, we are very serious about talks and dialogue.”

The upsurge in fighting and the flight of thousands of members of the tattered Afghan security forces have raised grave doubt about the US-backed peace negotiations, which began last year under the then-President Donald Trump’s administration.

Responding to a request for comment on the Taliban representative’s remarks, a spokesperson for the US State Department said a negotiated settlement was the only way to end 40 years of war in Afghanistan.

“We urge the sides to engage in serious negotiations to determine a political roadmap for Afghanistan’s future that leads to a just and durable settlement,” the official said.

“The world will not accept the imposition by force of a government in Afghanistan,” the official added. “Legitimacy and assistance for any Afghan government can only be possible if that government has a basic respect for human rights.”


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