Peace talks between Afghanistan’s government and the Taliban are set to start in the next couple days, the Afghan vice president told Al Arabiya on Monday, adding that the negotiations will be one of the “most difficult” in history.
“This is going to be one of the most difficult peace negotiations of history. In certain ways this is going to be even more complicated than the Arab peace process,” said Afghanistan Vice President Amrullah Saleh in an interview with Al Arabiya.
“A lot of blood has been shed and a lot of divisions have been created. Overcoming these divisions will not be easy,” he added.
Reuters reported on Monday that peace talks have been delayed due to logistical issues.
A source told Reuters the Afghanistan government negotiating team may fly on Tuesday to Qatar, where the peace talks are set to be held.
Last month the Afghanistan government released 400 high-risk Taliban prisoners, a demand of the Taliban leadership.
Saleh said that if the Taliban backs out of peace talks following this action, it will be a “slap in the face.”
“Should the Taliban find another excuse [to avoid peace talks], it will be a slap in the face to the international community who told us this is the last excuse, and it will be a slap in the face to peace itself,” said Saleh.
Saleh, who described himself as being “politically on the opposite side of the Taliban,” warned that the Taliban will try to “use violence to get more concessions.”
“Each action they do will complicate the peace,” he said.
While Saleh said the peace talks will be “extremely complicated,” he believes it will be a beginning to the path of a comprehensive agreement between the government and the Taliban.
“Making peace with the Taliban does not mean surrendering to the Taliban,” Saleh said.
“It means bringing two ways of life under one national ceiling.”