Amid gridlock, Khalilzad heads back to Doha talks

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KABUL: The US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad has embarked on a visit to Doha and the region as part of the ongoing peace efforts.


“Headed back to Doha and the region to meet with partners on Afghan-owned, Afghan-led peace negotiations and prospects for increased regional connectivity, trade and development following peace,” the diplomat tweeted. 


He wrote on his Twitter handle that the Afghan people and the international community were watching closely and expected the negotiations to make progress toward producing a roadmap for Afghanistan’s political future and a comprehensive ceasefire.


This comes as the intra-Afghan talks between the Afghan negotiating team and that of the Taliban’s started more than two weeks ago but progress has been sluggish. The teams have yet to reach a consensus on the procedure and framework for substantive talks.  


Some critics believe a mediator is needed to step in and resolve the outstanding issues among the sides.


Reports indicate there are two sticking points between the negotiating teams. Last week, it became known that there have been disputes over choosing the Hanafi religious jurisprudence as a reference in case an issue comes up amid the talks and over recognizing the US-Taliban agreement signed in February as a basis for the intra-Afghan talks.