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The EU envoy warns that time is running out for the peace process in Afghanistan – EURACTIV.com

The EU’s special envoy to Afghanistan said on Wednesday (June 16) that time for peace talks in Afghanistan is running out. With the withdrawal of international forces from this war-torn country, more work needs to be done to promote discussions.

In the past two weeks, negotiators from the Afghan government and the Taliban have met in Doha, the capital of Qatar, to discuss the peace process following the suspension of negotiations that had largely stalled earlier this year.

Negotiations began in September, but the already slowed negotiations were basically suspended in April, when the United States announced that it would withdraw its troops before September 11, and the Trump administration and the Taliban reached an agreement on a May 1 deadline.

NATO allies leave Afghanistan with the U.S.

NATO allies agreed on Wednesday (April 14) that foreign troops under NATO’s command will coordinate with the US withdrawal from Afghanistan before September 11, and promised to reflect the US plan to withdraw troops on May 1 in 20 years…

“The time we speak is getting shorter and shorter,” Thomas Nick Larson, the EU’s acting special envoy for Afghanistan, told Reuters during a visit to the Pakistani capital. “No or little progress has been made in terms of substance, so from this perspective, more work must be done.”

Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen said on Twitter that on Tuesday, the two negotiating teams had already met to discuss “re-adjusting the order and sequence of negotiations.”

But Nick Larsen said that to show real progress, it is necessary to make substantive suggestions on the plans of the two sides for the country and the outcome of the talks, and the Taliban have not yet provided these suggestions.

“The Taliban’s proposal is very likely to be extremist. Maybe they will put an Islamic emirate on the table, which is very good for negotiations, and then you can see where compromises can be made. Compromises must be made by both parties,” he Say.

Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said that the organization does have a written plan, but it will not make it public or share it with foreigners and will keep it for substantive negotiations.

The special envoy held a meeting with officials in Islamabad this week and expressed his belief that Pakistan believes that it is in its interest to encourage a negotiated peace settlement in neighboring Afghanistan, but reiterated that Pakistan should use all means to encourage the Taliban to submit a written peace proposal.

Pakistan’s relationship with the Taliban has been criticized by the West in the past, but foreign capitals, including Washington, have in recent years acknowledged Pakistan’s efforts to bring insurgents to the negotiating table.

The Pakistani Foreign Minister said recently that Pakistan fully supports the Afghan peace process, but does not want to be regarded as a “scapegoat”, nor does it want to be blamed if the negotiations break down.

“So far, I think (the Taliban) has made very little progress in proposing proposals, but whether this is because of insufficient leverage or because the leverage has not been used there… I have no idea,” Nick Larsen said.

“But I believe that Pakistan is aware of the importance and urgency of the situation and it is in its own interest to use its influence.”

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