Kabul Process: President Ghani Reiterates Call on Taliban to Join Peace Talks

(Last Updated On: June 06, 2017 6:09 pm)

President Ashraf Ghani reiterated call on the Taliban militant group to join peace talks, stressed that it would not be an “open-ended opportunity”.

Opening a peace and security international conference “Kabul Process” on Tuesday in Kabul, Ghani described that the location for peace talks with Taliban can be anywhere based on mutual agreement. He said it can be in Kabul or anywhere else.

“If there is an agreement to develop a peaceful path, acceptable for both sides, we will allow the Taliban group to open representative office… We are offering a chance for peace but we must also be clear that this is not an open-ended opportunity,” Ghani said.

He urged a lessening of violence and meaningful negotiations to end the conflict in country, citing the government’s success in making peace deal with the Hezb-e-Islami in forty years of conflict.

Ghani said that the UN’s mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) should be strengthened to be a key counterpart in peace process with Taliban, and the UN would facilitate “a neutral, third party monitoring mechanism’” for the peace talks with the group, “so that when a peace agreement is in sight, there is also the means to verify compliance and resolve disputes.”

The conference was hosted representatives from 27 nations including Pakistan, Russia and China.

The President stressed that Afghanistan suffers “undeclared war of aggression” from Pakistan.

Ghani further said that in the early months of his administration, he had gone out on a limb to offer an olive branch to Pakistan, but it was ignored.

‘We want peace with Pakistan. We want to be able to trust Pakistan.  And we want the chance for friendly, cooperative relationships that will reduce poverty and promote growth on both sides of the Durand Line.”

“Our challenge is we cannot figure out what is it that Pakistan wants. What will it take to convince Pakistan that a stable Afghanistan helps them and helps our region?” Ghani said.

In the last two years, the president said, 75,000 Afghans were killed and injured, adding that 11,000 terrorists had come to Afghanistan in the last two years, as “Taliban sponsored terrorism is creating a platform that is bringing terrorists from all over the region to Afghanistan.”

Ghani also urged the international community to strengthen the Afghan security forces. “Strengthening security forces means that Taliban cannot win militarily.”

The “Kabul Process” international meeting in Kabul comes in the wake of recent terror attacks in the city, including a tanker bomb blast which left more than 150 dead.

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