Weekly Peace News Round-up


Last week saw a historic and unprecedented breakthrough as intra-Afghan talks were officially launched in Doha, boosting hopes for a peaceful settlement to the long-running Afghan conflict at last.

Government: Facilitated by the release of the last batch of the Taliban inmates, the intra-Afghan talks got underway in the Qatari capital of Doha to hammer out a deal for bringing an end to over 19 years of bloodshed in the country. As of yet, the contact groups of the negotiating teams representing the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (IRA) and the Taliban have been engaged in talks to settle some contradictory items related to procedures and internal code of conduct. As the sides are inching closer to more serious discussions, the Afghan government continues repetitive calls for a ceasefire, a demand that is also shared by key stakeholders of the process. In latest remarks that came following the killing of the deputy chairman of the Paktia provincial council on Saturday, President Ashraf Ghani once again called upon the Taliban to declare a ceasefire.

Taliban: Despite the Taliban are sending off positive signals as talks are making slow-paced progress in Doha, calls for a ceasefire from the stakeholders of peace are going unanswered. The Taliban describe the declaration of a ceasefire a huge issue. The insurgent group promulgates that there is a root cause in Afghanistan for their reluctance to announce a truce and unless that cause wasn’t eliminated, an armistice, which is only the effect, was out of the question. Meanwhile, the group says ironing out details, framework and the schedule for the talks aren’t easy tasks and require time and patience. This is while it has been a week since the launch of intra-Afghan talks and there has been so far no consensus on technicalities.

People: The Afghan people joyfully embraced the launch of intra-Afghan talks in Doha through various gatherings, sports competitions and charities, among others, stressing that the landmark opportunity offered them a glimmer of hope about a peaceful future. Their optimism is touching skies; nevertheless, they are being victimized in the ongoing violence. Based on APW’s RiV-monitoring initiative, not a single day passes by without civilians being killed or injured. Their feelings vacillate between hope and despair as on one hand, they are optimistic that their 40-year-old aspirations for peace would be realized but on the other, the daily security incidents – 20 on average – make them apprehensive and distrustful of the talks.

World: As the peace talks are in full swing, mixed reactions and remarks are emerging from the world. NATO assures of standing with the Afghan government both in the peace process and on the battlefield. Meanwhile, the US President Trump promises to reduce the number of his country’s troops in Afghanistan to less than 4,000 in the next couple of weeks but informs that it will happen after certain things are achieved. However, other countries, the People’s Republic of China particularly, while reiterating support to the ongoing peace push in the country, calls on the international community to stage a responsible withdrawal from Afghanistan in order to secure gradual transit. Furthermore, the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo advises Afghans to seize the opportunity made available and write the next chapter in the history of Afghanistan by making peace

However, these are only the early stages as serious discussions on key topics in the direct intra-Afghan negotiations are expected to launch later on and probably span over several rounds and months.