Friday, 06 December, 2019


Afghanistan's Ghani Offers Talks with Taliban 'without Preconditions'

Afghanistan's Ghani Offers Talks with Taliban 'without Preconditions' Afghanistan's Ghani Offers Talks with Taliban 'without Preconditions'
Bennie Garza | 31 March, 2018, 06:59

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has offered peace talks "without preconditions" to the Taliban after 16 years of war.

Ghani said a ceasefire must be agreed on and the Taleban must be declared a political group.

Afghanistan's government forces have captured a German man during a recent raid on a suspected Taliban bomb-making compound in the southern province of Helmand, media reports quoting Afghan officials said on Thursday.

"We will consider the Taleban's view in the peace talks", he said.

"China would like to continue to provide assistance within its capabilities for reconciliation and peace process in Afghanistan", said Chunying.

Ghani also announced that state-to-state talks would be initiated with Pakistan to assure coordinated efforts to support the proposed talks with the Taliban.

The Taliban has yet to respond through its official spokesman.The announcement could signify a growing rift between Kabul and Washington.

"Russia appears to have stepped up engagement with the Taliban, adopting the stance that the Taliban is preferable to other violent extremist groups in the region", said Emily Winterbotham, a senior research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies in London.

"The Afghan government must be accepting and we will also work on the list of freeing Taleban prisoners", he said.

"Certainly the United States could have a role in that".

"The timing is important. the Taliban might reject the offer, as they have done in the past, but at least it seems the peace process (which) stopped for a while may get back on track", he told AFP.

Since the end of NATO's combat mission in January 2015, the Afghan government has been steadily losing ground to insurgents and now controls only 57 per cent of the country, according to the US Special Inspector General for Reconstruction of Afghanistan. Former fighters and refugees could be reintegrated and provided with jobs.

Ghani thanked delegates from all the countries in attendance for their support over peace in Afghanistan and said the threats are increasing and the enemies of Afghanistan are transnational criminals.

But - unlike with global jihadist groups such as the Islamic State group or Al-Qaeda - citizens of Western nations are nearly unknown among the Taliban ranks, with most foreigners hailing from Pakistan, Central Asia or Arab nations. "Once the statement is formally released, I will be able to comment on it", he said.

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