Intra-Afghan Talks Deadlocked In Doha Over The Taliban's Demand For Shari'a-Based System Of Government In Afghanistan

September 22, 2020

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The intra-Afghan talks, concerning the future of peace in Afghanistan, began on September 12, 2020, in Doha, Qatar, and are expected to give a share of power to the Afghan Taliban in Kabul.

Following are the latest updates on the talks:

The Afghan delegation, comprising officials and prominent Afghans and the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (the Taliban organization) formed, on the opening day, two "contact groups" that held five meetings to frame the agenda and rules for the intra-Afghan talks.

By September 21, the talks were deadlocked. The framework of the talks had 23 articles proposed by both the sides, which were reduced to 20, and may still change.[1] The framework involves the Taliban's demand to establish an Islamic system of government in Afghanistan.

Journalist Karim Amini of ToloNews reported that the deadlock is over three issues: "The name given to the war, the religious legal system chosen for the negotiations, and the Taliban's demand to include the U.S.-Taliban agreement as the foundation of the talks."[2] The U.S.-Taliban agreement was signed in Doha on February 29, 2020.

According to Karim Amini, the Taliban want their war in Afghanistan to be called "jihad" and the Hanafi school of jurisprudence of Sunni Islam to be the basis for decision-making during the negotiations, while there are also demands for Shi'ite theology to be recognized for personal-religious matters involving Shi'ite Muslims in Afghanistan.[3]

Some of the Taliban demands conflict with the Afghan government's fight for a secular democratic republic. Roznama Ummat, a pro-Taliban Urdu daily, reported that the Afghan delegation refused to discuss any likely change in the current democratic system of governance in Afghanistan, while the Taliban delegation said they want a shari'a system in Afghanistan, not a share in power.[4]

According to a report in the pro-Taliban daily Roznama Ummat, the Islamic Emirate has turned down an offer of economic aid from Germany if the Taliban accept the current democratic system of government, while the Norwegian government also tried to persuade the Taliban.[5]

On September 21, the Heart of Asia Society, a Kabul-based organization, released results of a survey according to which 75 percent of Afghans "prefer a republic-style government as an outcome of the ongoing peace negotiations in Doha."[6]

Gulbuddin Hekmatyar renounced violence.

On September 20-21, jihadi terrorists of the Islamic Emirate (the Taliban organization) killed at least 29 Afghan soldiers in the provinces of Balkh, Kandahar, Takhar, and Kapisa, casting a shadow on the intra-Afghan talks in Doha.[7] The Islamic Emirate, despite being engaged in talks, has refused to agree on a ceasefire or recognize the elected government in Kabul.

The Islamic Emirate continues to fight in the hope of unseating the Afghan government by force. Earlier, on September 9, Afghanistan's First Vice President Amrullah Saleh survived an assassination attempt when his convoy of cars was attacked with a bomb in Kabul city.[8]

On September 20, it emerged that Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the former jihadi commander who has joined the mainstream, has formed an alliance with the Islamic Emirate, which is backed by the Pakistani military's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). A Pakistani daily reported that Hekmatyar's Hizb-e-Islami is ready for talks with the Taliban.[9]

An Urdu daily also reported on September 19 that the next round of the intra-Afghan talks could be moved to Turkmenistan.[10] It also noted that a Chinese delegation met with Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar Akhund, the head of the Islamic Emirate's Political Office in Doha, Qatar.[11]


[1] (Afghanistan), September 21, 2020.

[2] (Afghanistan), September 21, 2020.

[3] (Afghanistan), September 21, 2020.

[4] Roznama Ummat (Pakistan), September 17, 2020.

[5] Roznama Ummat (Pakistan), September 19, 2020.

[6] (Afghanistan), September 21, 2020.

[7] (Afghanistan), September 21, 2020.

[8] (Afghanistan), September 10, 2020.

[9] Roznama Jang (Pakistan), September 20, 2020.

[10] Roznama Jang (Pakistan), September 19, 2020.

[11] Roznama Jang (Pakistan), September 19, 2020.

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