The Taliban and delegates representing Afghan society have agreed upon a road map for a future political settlement in what is seen as a major step toward ending Afghanistan's nearly 18-year war.
Ariana News Agency-
In a joint declaration released late on July 8, the Taliban and Afghan delegates agreed to reduce “civilian casualties to zero” and to assure Afghan women their fundamental rights in “political, social, economic, educational, [and] cultural affairs” in a way that is “in accordance with the values of Islam.”
The document is nonbinding and is seen as a basic framework for future talks on a final peace agreement between the Taliban and Afghan government representatives.
U.S. special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad on July 9 tweeted congratulations to the participants of the intra-Afghan dialogue: “Afghan society representatives across generations, senior government officials, Taliban — for finding common ground.”
Meanwhile, U.S.-Taliban talks that were paused for the July 7-8 intra-Afghan dialogue were scheduled to resume in Qatar on July 9.
The latest round of U.S.-Taliban talks began on July 1, with Khalilzad describing the discussions as the “most productive” ever and telling RFE/RL that “a lot of progress” had been made.
That progress included the agreement of Taliban representatives to meet for the first time with Afghan government officials for face-to-face talks under the format of the intra-Afghan dialogue, although the Kabul officials participated in a personal rather than official capacity.
The intra-Afghan delegation also included opposition politicians, women, and members of Afghan nongovernmental organizations.
The Taliban had previously refused to meet directly with any members of Afghanistan’s government, calling them “Western puppets.”