Intra-Afghan Talks to Mark First Meeting Saturday. [Photo: Archive]

KABUL, Afghanistan – Mohammad Naeen Wardar, a spokesman for the Taliban delegation, in a tweet Thursday said an opening meeting of the Intra-Afghan talks is due to September 12 in Qatari capital Doha.

“The State of Qatar is pleased to announce that the Afghanistan Peace Negotiations will commence in Doha on Saturday the 12th of September 2020…,” the Qatari government confirmed on a statement later that day. “These vitally important direct negotiations between the different Afghan parties represent a step forward in bringing lasting peace to Afghanistan…”

 “Qatar has always placed great value in the power of diplomacy and direct dialogue to resolve disputes,” said the Minister of Foreign Affairs’ Special Envoy for Counterterrorism and Mediation in Conflict Resolution Mutlaq Al Qahtani as quoted on the statement. “We will continue our role to create stability in the region.”

Meanwhile, the Afghan Presidential Palace said on a statement Thursday evening that its delegation will leave for Doha on Friday to attend initial meeting of the long-awaited talks.

According to the statement, Abdullah Abdullah, chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation; Mohammad Haneef Atmar, Acting Foreign Minister; Abdul Salam Rahimi, the President’s special representative for peace and Syed Sadat Mansoor Naderi, State Minister for Peace Affairs will represent the Afghan government.

The announcement came after a breakthrough on the deadlock for implementing Intra-Afghan talks, as the Taliban officials met their demands of having their prisoners freed by Afghan government.

Sources suggested at least six “hardcore” Taliban prisoners are yet be freed due to objections by the Australian and French government for their involvement of killing international counterparts.

The six “hardcore” Taliban – who have direct links to killing foreign nationals – are transferred from Kabul prison to Doha on Thursday, in a bid to have a closer eye on them. Their fate, however, remained uncertain.