A crucial round of the so far stalled intra-Afghan peace talks began in the Qatari capital Doha with senior figures from the Afghan government and the Taliban sitting across the table.
In his opening remarks, the Taliban’s deputy head Mulla Abdul Ghani Baradar said that peace and prosperity will prevail in Afghanistan with a “strong, centralized and independent Islamic system.”
In a clear reference to Afghanistan's current democratic system of governance, he went on to say that "foreign" ideas and systems will not help with the country's problems.
“We want progress, we want a good and comfortable life, but not at the cost of our Islamic values, independence, and freedom,” Baradar, one of the founding members of the Taliban movement in the 1990s, said.
The head of the Taliban’s Qatar office further said these “high targets” will be achieved through mutual cooperation.
The Afghan government is represented at these crucial talks with the Taliban by a top official delegation led by the chairman of the peace council, Abdullah Abdullah.
Speaking in Doha, Abdullah warned that the main victims of Afghanistan’s continuing violence are its people. "It does not matter if the Afghan government uses force or the Taliban try to win through violence and war, the main losers in the current war are the people of Afghanistan."
He stressed that the Afghan people are going through a difficult time and that believing in a military solution or emphasizing victory through force and violence is pointless.