Executive Intelligence Review


Afghan President’s Peace Offer to the Taliban Welcomed

March 1, 2018 (EIRNS)—Speaking at the inauguration of a one-day international conference on Feb. 28, attended by 20 nations and aimed at creating a platform for peace talks, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said a framework for peace negotiations should be created, with the Taliban recognized as a legitimate group, with their own political office to handle negotiations in Kabul or another agreed-upon location. In return for Ghani’s offer, the Taliban would have to recognize the Afghan government and respect the rule of law, including the rights of women, one of the priorities for Afghanistan’s international partners, Reuters reported. The Taliban have not responded yet.

It is evident that President Ghani, who is heavily dependent on Washington, came up with the proposal in consultation with the United States. Alice Wells, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, who also spoke at the conference, said:

“We support the message that the Afghan government and civil society leaders are sending to the Taliban and other armed groups: the door to peace is open, but you must choose to walk through that door,”

the U.S. State Department reported. In addition, on Feb. 27, The New Yorker carried an open letter to the Taliban from Barnett Rubin, who had long interactions with all Afghan parties. He had served as the Senior Advisor to the Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan in the U.S. Department of State between April 2009 and October 2013. In this open letter, he urged the Taliban to accept a ceasefire and peace talks with the Afghan as well as the U.S. government.

Both the Indian and Pakistani government officials, who attended the conference, have welcomed President Ghani’s initiative. Lt. Gen. Nasser Khan Janjua, Pakistan’s national security advisor, conveyed a message to the Afghan Ambassador to Pakistan Omar Zakhilwal: “Pakistan welcomed President Ghani’s offer of seeking peace through dialogue and we are ready to extend all possible support to bring peace in Afghanistan,” the Pakistan daily The Nation reported today.

India’s Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale, following his meeting with the Afghan National Security Advisor Hanif Atmar,

“welcomed the Afghan government’s call to armed groups to cease violence and join national peace and reconciliation process that would protect the rights of all Afghans, including the women, children and the minorities,”

India’s Ministry of External Affairs statement said.