‘If Taliban refuses to negotiate, they will choose peace of grave’, warns Ghani

Kabul: Stressing that every international stakeholder and Afghan people demands a “sovereign, Islamic, democratic, united, neutral” and unified Afghanistan, President Ashraf Ghani warned that “if the Taliban refuse to negotiate, they will be choosing the peace of the grave”.

Citing an article shared by Foreign Policy, Khaama Press News Agency reported Ghani saying that an Islamic system demanded by the Taliban already exists in Afghanistan and that they should demonstrate their desired end state with “clarity and detail”.

He further said that peace negotiations require a credible and neutral mediator, which the Doha talks lack and the best option for this role would be United Nations.

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“The first topics of negotiation must be reaching the desired end state and putting in place a comprehensive cease-fire to bring peace and respite to the daily lives of the Afghan people and to restore credibility and faith in the peacemaking process. Because cease-fires established during peace negotiations often fall apart, however, it is critical that we have international monitoring,” he said.

Ghani mentioned that the parties would have to discuss and decide on a transitional administration, which would have a short tenure. He announced that in such an election, he would not run for office and expressed willingness to resign if his successor had a mandate for peace.

Intra-Afghan Talks would face difficult challenges on whether and how the Taliban would sever ties with Pakistan, the Khaama Press reported.

“It is crucial that the Afghan government and the Taliban also agree on an approach against the Islamic State (or ISIS), al Qaeda, and other terrorist groups and that our agreement include a framework for counterterrorism that secures guarantees of support from other countries in the region and from international organizations”, Ghani said in his article in Foreign Policy.

According to the Afghan President, a disrupted and disorderly” transition of power could menace command and control of security sectors in the country. He also noted that “uncertainty” may persuade Afghans to migrate, which could lead to another refugee crisis.

He further predicted that the Taliban will show no further ensuing interest in making a political deal and “will instead opt for continued military aggression”, Khaama Press reported.

Speaking on Pakistan, he said that the neighbouring country had miscalculated to threaten the Afghan peace process.

He remarked that Islamabad would be looking for an enmity with Afghanistan and would be deprived of enormous economical benefits that peace and regional connectivity offers if they choose to continue facilitating Taliban and other terrorist organisations.

“Pakistan would become an international pariah, as it would be left with no leverage in the aftermath of the U.S. troop withdrawal. The Pakistani government miscalculated in its response to the United States’ plan of action for Afghanistan and the region, but it is not too late for Islamabad to emerge as a partner and stakeholder in an orderly peace process,” he said in his article.

“The withdrawal of U.S. troops is an opportunity to get us closer to that end state, but only if all Afghans and their international partners commit to a clear path forward and stay the course,” Ghani concluded his remarks.

This statement comes as Washington formally started their drawdown from the war-torn country on May 1.

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