Peace process should be Afghan-led, says President Ghani after talks with Taliban in Qatar

WION Web Team
Islamabad, Pakistan Updated: Jan 28, 2019, 06:36 PM(IST)

File photo of Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani. Photograph:( Reuters )

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Sources said the Taliban shall announce ceasefire and peace talks with the Afghan government.

After Afghan president Ashraf Ghani appealed to the Taliban to "enter into serious talks" with the government during talks in Qatar with sources informing WION that a package deal is expected.

Sources said US pullout has been finalised for a one and a half year timeframe but it shall be in phases with progress in peace talks and security of Afghanistan to be taken into consideration. First, the US will announce its withdrawal and it is expected that US president Trump will announce it in his State of the Union Address on Tuesday or whenever it happens.

After it is publicly announced, sources said the Taliban shall announce a ceasefire and peace talks with the Afghan government. Sources said the Afghan Taliban military council which authorises attacks has asked for the release of Aafia Siddiqui but that demand has not been actively taken up by the rest. There are two members from the military council taking part in talks in Qatar.

The eight-member Afghan Taliban delegation includes chief Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, three members from the political office including Abbas Stanikzai and one senior member of the Haqqani Network.

Mullah Yaqoob who is the youngest son of Mullah Omar and ex-Afghan Taliban chief is also taking part in talks. Ghani spoke hours after his office released a statement saying that US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad had assured them that the focus of the talks in Qatar remains finding a way to facilitate peace negotiations between the militants and Kabul.

Khalilzad arrived in Afghanistan late Sunday after six days of talks between Taliban representatives and US officials in Doha. Both parties have cited "progress" as hopes rise that the unprecedented length of the negotiations could mean a deal paving the way for Afghan peace talks may be in sight, although sticking points remain.

"We want peace, we want it fast but we want it with a plan," Ghani continued Monday.

"We should not forget that the victims of this war are Afghans and the peace process should also be Afghan-led," the president added.

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