Afghanistan still insists ceasefire amid US-Taliban talks

In the latest round of peace talks in Qatar, the Taliban has reportedly agreed to reduce violence fo a period of 10 days

As the US and Taliban began a new round of peace talks in Doha, an Afghanistan government spokesman said that "all allies" of the country, as well as the "people of Afghanistan," were "insisting on a ceasefire" before the next step in the peace process.

In this latest round of peace talks in Qatar, the Taliban has reportedly agreed to a reduction in violence for a 10-day period which means the group will not carry out attacks in urban areas, reports TOLO News.

Taliban reportedly agreed to reduce violence for a 10-day period

Afghan policemen keep watch during a battle with the Taliban in Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand province, Afghanistan May 11, 2016. Reuters

Addressing a press conference in Kabul on Saturday, spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said the talks were underway between US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad's team and the Taliban negotiators, but there has been "no progress so far", referring specifically to discussions about a ceasefire or reduction in violence.

Sediqqi said that ending the war and bringing peace to the country were priorities of the government of Afghanistan and "the President and the people of Afghanistan have always insisted on a ceasefire". The spokesman reiterated that the ceasefire was the "most important demand of Afghans", adding that the Taliban "should accept a ceasefire if they are really interested in peace".

The process will "not achieve any results without the role of the Afghan government", Sediqqi said. The new talks began last week after a month-long break since the two sides paused the negotiations for internal consultations on December 12, 2019, reports Efe news.

Taliban and US resumed negotiations on December 7

The Taliban and the US resumed the negotiations on December 7 following a three-month stalemate after President Donald Trump abruptly called off the talks in September over a deadly attack in Kabul that also killed an American soldier.

A possible US-Taliban agreement is expected to pave the way for intra-Afghan peace talks between the Taliban and the government of President Ashraf Ghani. The Taliban have for long rejected to hold any official and direct talks with the Afghan government before it reaches an agreement with the US on its troop withdrawal from the country.