Ashraf Ghani Ready For Afghan Peace Talks; India Urged To Talk To Taliban

President Ashraf Ghani has agreed to hold Afghan peace talks with the Taliban in the Qatari capital of Doha. The announcement was made by Qatari Foreign Ministry Special Envoy Mutlaq Al-Qahtani. 

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‘’President Ghani agreed to hold the negotiations with the Taliban’’ in Qatar”, Al-Qahtani told Al-Jazeera broadcaster after a meeting with Chairman of the Afghan High Council for National Reconciliation Abdullah Abdullah in Kabul.

Abdullah also thanked Qatar’s effort for mediating between the Taliban and Afghanistan to ensure peace and security in the country.

The intra-Afghan dialogue will also see more calls for the Narendra Modi government to engage the Taliban. In the past few weeks, both Mr Khalilzad and Russian Special Envoy for Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov, have said in separate interviews that they feel it is time for India to give up its opposition to talks with the Taliban which New Delhi has thus far seen as a terror group allied to Pakistan.

Speaking to The Hindu, two senior Afghan officials said that they expected New Delhi to soften its stand on the Taliban once the intra-Afghan talks begin.

“India has been supportive of the peace process, and we believe they would talk if the Taliban joins the peace process and agrees to an end state acceptable to the people of Afghanistan,” one Afghan official dealing with New Delhi said.

The fighting had paused after a surprise three-day ceasefire was announced by Taliban on May 23. The Afghan authorities complied with the Ramadan ceasefire, at the end of which fighting resumed.

As reported by EurAsian Times earlier, the US had carried out airstrikes in two locations in Afghanistan while the Taliban had managed to attack an Aghan patrol.  The ceasefire, along with the beginning of internal Afghan talks and the exchange of prisoners between Kabul and Talibs, was part of a peace deal reached with the mediation of Washington and signed in Doha earlier this year.