Abdullah Abdullah, Afghanistan’s Vice President and chief negotiator, has declared the intra-Afghan talks to be at “a special stage,” saying that there is growing unification on the process, and he hopes the second round will be “exactly on time.”
Abdullah is much more upbeat on the process than other officials. His main critique is that the process needs to be more transparent to the public, though Afghan media has pointed out that the specifics have often leaked to them through secondary channels.
The first round of talks finished with procedural rules, and the second round will focus on the agenda for the rest of the process. Expected to be a main priority is reaching a ceasefire, which seems essential for real progress.
The Taliban has been very transparent with the agenda they are seeking, and while ironically it does not include more prisoner exchanges, Afghan officials are angrily opposing the idea of those exchanges.
If the two sides can keep the focus on topics they actually want, and not bashing each other for things that were never brought up, they seem likely to make more progress, and advance the talks quickly.