KABUL: As the Afghan warring sides are seemingly inching closer to the launch of direct talks in Qatar, a controversial text consisting of demands supposedly associated with the Taliban has gone viral on social media. However, the Taliban refute the demands as propaganda and a move to spoil their reputation.
A list of five major and impractical demands, purportedly leaked by the Taliban group, circulating social media has caused some apprehensions among Afghans. It’s rumored that the Taliban have shared these proposals with US officials and the Pakistani government. One of the demands includes the dissolution of the incumbent Afghan administration and the establishment of a transitional structure for six months.
The demands also contain the integration of around 150,000 Taliban fighters into the Afghan army; abolishment of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and the National Assembly; and formation of a committee to amend the Constitution, among others.
Nevertheless, the Taliban dubbed the list as a rumor propagated by some Kabul-based activists. Zabihullah Mujahid, the group’s spokesman, told Afghan Peace Watch (APW) that “the agenda for peace hasn’t been shared with anybody so far.”
He maintained that the agenda items, which are also not determined yet, would become known when the intra-Afghan talks get underway. “These are just destructive guesses and we all know that inferences are never the same as the actual happenings,” he concluded.
This comes as the Afghan government said Thursday it had released the remaining 400 contentious Taliban prisoners, except for “a few” opposed by foreign nations, and expected peace negotiations to start soon.
The Afghan negotiating team is also set to leave for Doha in the very near future and take up points, which it received from the Consultative Loya Jirga, for discussion with its Taliban counterpart.
Meanwhile, as the end of the controversial prisoner swap is tied up, the National Security Council (NSC) demanded the immediate launch of intra-Afghan talks, reasoning that all hurdles facing peace negotiations have been removed.