Afghanistan’s High Peace Council (HPC) on Saturday said that the Taliban has indirectly rejected the government ‘unconditional’ peace offer, but the group’s faction led by Mullah Rasool has welcomed the proposal.
The Taliban has not publicly responded to President Ghani’s offer delivered at Kabul Process II meeting last week, which included a cease-fire and prisoner swap, passports for Taliban representatives and their families, Taliban’s participation in elections and a review of the constitution and recognizing the group has legitimate political force.
On Thursday, in reply to an “Open Letter” – published last week in the New Yorker magazine in which the Taliban was urged to accept talks with the Kabul government – the Taliban issued a cool response to proposal that they should begin peace talks with the Afghan government.
“Our country has been occupied, which has led to an American-style supposed Afghan government being imposed upon us,” the Taliban response said.
“And your view that we talk to them and accept their legitimacy is the same formula adopted by America to win the war,” it said, adding that the Kabul Process II meeting was simply aimed at seeking the “surrender” of the Taliban.
Until now, the Taliban has refused to negotiate with Kabul and said it will not join talks until all foreign forces have left the country.
However, the High Peace Council said that there are still some positive signs which might open the door for peace talks as the Taliban reasoning lack of foreign troops’ issue in the offered proposal as an indication for the denial.
“There is disagreement and will be. They [the Taliban] have proposed an agenda that needs to be discussed, but if the Taliban respond [to the proposal] negatively, the world’s position towards them will get worse,” said Din Mohammad, Deputy Head of HPC.