Afghanistan: Ashraf Ghani Invites Taliban To Share Power, End Violence

Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani on Wednesday offered a share in power to the Taliban, provided the group ends the war and bloodshed.

In his message on the occasion of the 29th anniversary of the toppling of the pro-Soviet government in Kabul by the mujahideen, the Afghan president said lessons must be learned from the bitter experiences of the past and wisdom applied in the peace process.

“No one in Afghanistan can impose will on the people through war and violence, it is time for the Taliban to give up the war and turn to democratic mechanisms to share power,” said Ghani in a televised address.

He recalled that Afghanistan plunged into political and security chaos, and witnessed destruction after the successful “jihad” against the Red Army.

“Afghanistan is once again facing critical circumstances … the success of jihad was due to harmony among the people and the national unity. Similarly, we can reach sustainable and just peace through a cohesive and unified voice,” he added.

The country has been recently been witnessing flare-up violence since US President Joe Biden unveiled the departure plan for American troops with September as the exit date.

US Peace Broker Defends Exit Plan

On Tuesday, top US peace broker for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad defended the Biden administration’s exit strategy, while briefing the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee.

Khalilzad said Washington and its allies will sanction the Taliban if they pursue a military takeover of Afghanistan. In his testimony, the seasoned diplomat of Afghanistan said the US will renew its commitment to a results-focused peace process between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

“It has been evident now for years that there is no military solution to a conflict in Afghanistan that has now gone on for over 40 years. A negotiated settlement within the country itself, supported by the regional powers, is the only path to sustainable stability,” he said.

Khalilzad also underlined Pakistan’s role in supporting peace. “We have urged Pakistan’s leaders to exercise their considerable leverage over the Taliban to reduce violence and support a negotiated settlement,” he noted, adding that Pakistan’s leaders have emphasized publicly and to US officials that they do not support a military takeover by the Taliban.

“I believe they understand that not only Afghanistan, but their country too will face grave consequences in the event of a return to a wider civil war.”

Hours before his speech, the State Department advised US citizens “wishing to depart Afghanistan should leave as soon as possible” and ordered non-essential US embassy workers to leave the country, saying “travel to all areas of Afghanistan is unsafe.”

Russia On Taliban

Meanwhile, Russia believes that the Taliban’s refusal to take part in the Istanbul conference on Afghanistan is a legitimate step, since the United States failed to comply with the Doha agreement, Russia’s presidential envoy for Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov told Sputnik, stressing that Moscow does not want the inter-Afghan peace process to be affected.

Istanbul was scheduled to host a conference with the participation of the Afghan government and the Taliban from April 24-May 4. However, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu announced last week that the event would be postponed, as it makes no sense without the Taliban’s participation. The movement has said that it is reluctant to participate in any conference until all foreign troops are withdrawn.

“First of all, I must say that this is a legitimate step from the formal point of view. Last year, on February 29, the Taliban signed an agreement with the United States, which provided for an obligation to withdraw all US troops by May 1. The US side did not comply. From this point of view, the reaction of the Taliban is legitimate,” Kabulov said.

“We would not like these disagreements between the US and the Taliban to undermine this [peace] process, in which we are interested from the point of view of our national and geopolitical interests,” Kabulov added.

Anadolu Agency & Sputnik