In reaction to the Wall Street Journal’s report, the U.S. Ambassador in Kabul John Bass on Tuesday said that the United States is committed to helping the Afghan electoral commissions and the government to hold the presidential elections in April next year.
The WSJ reported that the Trump administration is discussing whether to press the Afghan government to suspend coming presidential elections, as the U.S. seeks to engage the Taliban in talks to end the 17-year war.
According to the report, to urge a suspension of the April election was an idea raised by U.S. special envoy for peace in Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad in talks with various stakeholders and intermediaries.
Following the WSJ report, the U.S. ambassador in Kabul said: “We remain committed to helping the electoral commissions and the Afghan government prepare for presidential elections in April 2019. Timing of Afghan elections is for Afghans to decide.”
Earlier in the day, Chief Abdullah Abdullah met with the ambassador Bass and discussed a range of issues including elections, the peace process, and the Washington-Kabul relations.
In the meeting, Abdullah said the presidential elections will be held on due time, adding that peace is a separate issue and is not related to election.
This comes as President Ghani’s office spokesman Haroon Chakhansoori said that the government is “fully” committed to holding the coming presidential election as “per the Afghan constitution, and the date determined by IEC [the Independent Election Commission].”
“Continuity in a democratic process is a must and any other proposal than the will of Afghans which is outlined in our constitution is simply not acceptable,” Chakhansoori tweeted.