US-Taliban Peace Talks Resumed in Doha
The sixth round of direct peace talks between the US and the Taliban representatives kicked off in Doha, Qatar. US peace envoy for Afghanistan’s peace Zalmay Khalilzad met with Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the co-founder of the Taliban. Early in the morning the Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in an email statement that both sides resume direct talks in Doha. The first part of this round negotiation will be focused on finalizing the “full withdrawal of foreign forces” and “preventing Afghanistan from harming others”, according to the statement. The 15-day long US-Taliban fifth round of talks ended in mid-March in Doha with no breakthrough. Zalmai Khalilzad the US state department envoy to Afghan peace said back then that both sides would consult the details of a draft peace deal with their leaders before a final agreement. The sixth round of talks was supposed to happen after ‘Intra-Afghan’ peace gathering that was scheduled for 19th of April but was canceled due to disagreement over the participants’ list. The sixth round of talks is happening after Zalmai Khalilzad’s regional tour ended in Pakistan.
Third Day of Peace Loya Jirga: Committees Working Day Wrap-up
In the third day of Afghanistan Peace Consultative Loya Jirga, 50 committees finally started working after a round of elections and selections of heads and deputies to the Jirga’s committees. The organizers of this rare grand council known as a Loya jirga say it will be wrapped up on Friday, one day later than it was planned. The committees will then submit their recommendations and a declaration is expected at the closing ceremony on Friday. The Jirga with purely consultative function is aimed to set out Kabul’s conditions for peace talks with the Taliban.
Despite a Taliban boycott and warnings, a large number of the 3200 Loya Jirga participants have come from areas either controlled or under influenced by the Taliban.
Kabul- Mazar Highway Closure
Despite police final warning against protesters, access to the north and northeastern Afghanistan is shut in Pule-Khumri city. Angry protesters have blocked the Junction City access calling for a review of parliamentary elections results for the sixth day now.