The rapid advancement of the Taliban deprived the peace negotiators of the bargaining chip

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Afghanistan Update

Qatar is scrambling to persuade the Taliban to stop the offensive as militant groups advanced towards the gates of Kabul after occupying the eastern city of Jalalabad on Sunday.

A person familiar with the mediation work said that a delegation of high-level officials from the Taliban and the Afghan government is expected to hold talks in Doha on Monday.

With the dissolution of the Afghan army, the United States began to withdraw from its embassy, ​​and regional powers contacted the Taliban, providing the organization with the international recognition it hoped. The mediator has been working hard to gain influence on the Taliban.

“The biggest issue that Qatar has to put pressure on the Taliban is international recognition,” said a person familiar with the mediation work in Doha. “If you do this, you will be recognized by the international community.

“But now many countries in the region are meeting with them, and they are not doing it-Russia, China, Pakistan, Iran… You have nothing to force them to sit at the table.”

Qatar Foreign Minister Mohamed bin Abdullahham Al Thani, who has been mediating between rival parties in Afghanistan, met with Taliban Politburo Director Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar on Saturday , And urged the organization “to ease the escalation of the situation and stop the fire.”

In a statement on Saturday, Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated at an international partner meeting last week that they had agreed not to recognize any government imposed on Afghanistan by force.

“What the mediator is trying to do now is to get the decision makers to sit at the negotiating table, not high-level figures, but the number two figure in the government and the Taliban,” said a person familiar with the Doha talks.

“The problem with the Taliban is that when you talk to them, half of them agree with one thing, and the other half disagree,” the person said.

“The man at the table now [in Doha] Great, but it is clear that they did not make the final decision on both sides. “

Qatar has a Taliban office, which has long facilitated negotiations between the United States and Afghan parties and took over the role of mediator in June.

But the negotiations hardly made any progress, because the Biden administration decided to advance the former President Donald Trump’s plan to withdraw troops from Afghanistan and end the 20-year war in the country by the United States, which gave the Taliban courage.

After Joe Biden won the US election in November, the Afghan government was deadlocked in peace negotiations, assuming that Washington’s new government would retain US troops in the country. But “when they saw that Biden would respect the deal and leave, they started moving quickly and the Taliban started to delay because they knew they had the upper hand,” the person said.

He added that the mediators are trying to put pressure on the Taliban. The Taliban want Ghani to step down and stop fighting, but “the problem is that they know that the Americans will not come back.”

“The only influence is sanctions or economic support-this is the same thing as Iran, sticks or carrots,” he said. “The Taliban know that if they take over, they at least need not be hostile to the Americans.”

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