US-Taliban peace talks: Afghanistan government must be ‘decision-maker’ in any deal, says Ashraf Ghani

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Kabul: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said on Tuesday that no peace agreement between the Taliban and the United States could be achieved without involving his government as “the decision-maker.” So far, the Ghani government has been barred from ongoing peace talks between Taliban negotiators and US envoys to end more than 17 years of war, with the hard-line Islamist movement calling its government like a puppet of the United States.

He made his comments in a television interview when Afghan opposition politicians, including his predecessor Hamid Karzai, met with representatives of the Taliban in Moscow. “At the end of any peace agreement, whoever makes the decisions will be the government of Afghanistan,” Ghani told TOLO News, the country’s largest private television station.
“No power in the country can dissolve the government,” said Ghani, adding that he was ready to “defend and defend our country.” “Rest assured that nobody can separate us,” he said.

The president of the peace of the United States, Zalmay Khalilzad, will meet again with Taliban representatives on February 25. Ghani’s comment was one of the most extensive since he met Khalilzad in Kabul last week after the last round. of talks.

He said that early Wednesday on Twitter he had received phone warranties from the US Secretary of State. UU., Mike Pompeo, about Washington’s commitment to a “lasting partnership” with Afghanistan. His military association was “unshakeable” and will remain until a lasting and inclusive peace is achieved, he said.

US President Donald Trump referred to the peace talks in his annual address on the State of the Union on Tuesday, describing the talks as “constructive” and that Washington could reduce the number of US troops and focus on the efforts to fight terrorism. Progress.

“We do not know if we will reach an agreement, but we do know that after two decades of war, the time has come to at least attempt peace,” Trump said. US officials UU They say any withdrawal depends on a ceasefire, something the Taliban insists on happening first, and that the movement must be prepared to enter into talks with the Afghan government to help create a lasting peace. After two years of intense attacks by the Taliban against the Afghan government, military and foreign forces now control or dispute almost half of Afghanistan’s districts.

A ceasefire and the withdrawal of thousands of US-led NATO troops are on the table after Washington previously assured the Taliban that they would not allow groups like al Qaeda and the Islamic State to attack the United States and its allies .

Western diplomats and security advisers believe that a quick foreign withdrawal would put the stretched Afghan forces under heavy pressure. “The Taliban said they are ready to break ties with al Qaeda and the Islamic State, and this is a good development,” Ghani said.

A US general said in a Senate hearing shortly before the Ghani interview was broadcast that the talks were in their early stages and that the Afghan government would have to be part of any negotiated solution.

“I would like to characterize that we are in the process very, very early in the process,” US General Gen. Joseph Votel, head of the US Army Central Command, said at a hearing in the Senate. Votel also said the United States should continue to financially support Afghan security forces even if US troops withdraw.

The United States has approximately 14,000 troops in Afghanistan as part of the Resolute Support mission led by NATO and a separate anti-terrorism effort directed in large part to groups such as Al Qaeda and the Islamic State. Some 8,000 soldiers from 38 other countries also participate in Resolute Support.