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  • Taliban walk as they celebrate ceasefire in Ghanikhel district of Nangarhar province, Afghanistan June 16, 2018. Picture taken June 16, 2018

    Taliban walk as they celebrate ceasefire in Ghanikhel district of Nangarhar province, Afghanistan June 16, 2018. Picture taken June 16, 2018 | Photo: Reuters file

Published 27 January 2019

Perhaps the biggest gain during the peace talks has been the naming of Abdul Ghani Baradar - one of Taliban's co-founders, as chief negotiator.

Taliban and U.S. negotiators have allegedly moved forward in discussing a peace deal with the insurgent group raising its level of representation in the talks, a move which has been considered as positive by the Afghan government.

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Some key areas being treated in the Qatar-hosted peace talks, lacking the presence of the Afghan government, have seen slow development.

“The withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan and other vital issues saw progress,” according to a Taliban spokesman.

However, progress is not as optimistic as some media agencies are indicating.

Reports about a possible agreement on a ceasefire and a draft document for this purpose, as well as talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government, have been rejected by the insurgency, according to its spokesman Zabidullah Mujahid.

Perhaps the biggest gain during the peace talks has been the naming of Abdul Ghani Baradar, one of Taliban's co-founders, as the leader of its political office in Qatar.

“[Baradar’s new role] is good news for the peace process,” said Afghan president’s special envoy on peace Mohammad Umer Daudzai.

The leader who had been arrested in 2010 during a raid on a religious school, was released by Pakistan in October 2018: “He has been freed in line with our commitment to facilitating the peace process in Afghanistan,” said a spokesman for President Imran Khan.

The United States envoy to Afghanistan has also recognized progress has been made during the talks.

The war in Afghanistan started more than 15 years ago after the U.S. invaded the country and overthrew the Taliban government as part of George W. Bush’s global “war on terror” following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The ongoing conflict is estimated to have left over 220,000 people dead, mostly civilians.

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