Qatari FM and Taliban team discuss terms of armistice in Afghanistan

BEIRUT (TASS): Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Qatar Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdel Rahman Al Thani met on Saturday in Doha with the leader of the political wing of the Taliban movement, Mullah Abdel Ghani Baradar. As reported by the Qatari TV station Al-Jazeera, the head of the emirate’s foreign ministry discussed with him the terms of a ceasefire in Afghanistan.

“The Qatari Deputy Prime Minister called for a weakening of the military escalation and the establishment of a truce,” the communiqué said following the meeting. No statements from Mullah Baradar followed.

Earlier, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said that he is holding consultations with the government, political leaders and international partners in order to achieve a ceasefire between government forces and the Taliban.

“Urgent contacts are being made to end the war,” Ghani said. “A political solution must be found that guarantees lasting peace and stability.”

Earlier, the US special envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad conveyed to the Afghan government and the Taliban “a plan to end the military confrontation.”

This document was developed following the expanded consultations on the Afghan peace settlement, which took place this week in Doha.

On Saturday, Taliban announced an almost complete seizure of the city of Sharana (about 200 km from Kabul), the capital of Paktika province in eastern Afghanistan.

The corresponding statement was published on Saturday on the page of the official representative of the Taliban Zabihullah Mujahid in the Twitter account.

“The fighters of the Islamic Emirate [Afghanistan] entered the city of Sharana, the capital of Paktika province. All the enemy’s defensive systems have been captured, and the administrative and government buildings of the city have been besieged,” the message says.

The Taliban are urging government forces to lay down their arms, arguing that for them at the moment “this is the best opportunity <…> to save their lives.”

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