Afghan officials, Taliban talk often
Documents reveal details of the issues that sides discuss.
Despite seemingly stalled peace talks between Afghanistan’s government and the Taliban, officials say the nation’s intelligence chief speaks by telephone with militant leaders nearly every day about the country’s constitution and political future.
In addition, Afghanistan’s national security adviser has conversations with the Taliban every other month, officials familiar with the efforts said.
While Afghan officials said neither side was ready to agree to public peace talks, documents describing the conversations between the Afghan officials and the Taliban leadership reveal details of the issues discussed, including the Taliban’s apparent willingness to accept Afghanistan’s constitution and future elections.
A senior Afghan security official, who had taken notes on the talks, said the Taliban wanted certain amendments to the constitution — although not immediately.
They also envisioned an Islamic system of governance in Afghanistan, he said.
Among the Taliban’s demands, according to the official:
They accepted education for boys and girls at all levels, but wanted segregation by gender.
Women could be employed in all fields, including defense and the judiciary, and they could serve as judges at all levels except the Supreme Court. However, the Taliban wanted constitutional guarantees that a woman could not be president.
Special courts should be established to oversee thousands of cases that allege land was taken illegally by the rich and powerful in the post-Taliban era.
Elections could be held after an interim government is established, with no one affiliated with past governments allowed to serve in the interim administration. The Taliban said all sides could keep areas currently under their control until voting is held.
Afghanistan’s intelligence agency had no comment about the contacts with the Taliban. Officials familiar with the conversations said intelligence chief Masoum Stanikzai has near daily telephone conversations with Taliban leader Abbas Stanikzai, who is not related to him. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to reporters.
National Security adviser Mohammed Haneef Atmar’s office refused requests to comment on reports of his contacts with the Taliban in Doha, Qatar.
Afghan army commandos train Sunday at the Shorab military camp in Helmand province, Afghanistan. A senior Afghan security official said the Taliban wanted certain amendments to the constitution — although not immediately.