Official reports say Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has drafted a new peace proposal with the Taliban ahead of an international conference aimed at reviving stalled negotiations between the two warring parties.
It comes after the US, backed by Russia and other stakeholders, said in a leaked proposal that it wants to see a transitional government that includes the Taliban, despite Ghani’s insistence that leaders can only be elected via the ballot box.
According to official sources, Ghani intends to present his three-stage plan at a United Nations-backed conference in Turkey to be attended by the United States, Russia, and other key regional countries.
A date for the event has not been finalised.
As part of an agreement reached with the hardline community last year, the US is only weeks away from a May 1 deadline to withdraw all foreign troops from Afghanistan, which US President Joe Biden has said would be difficult to meet.
Reaching a diplomatic settlement with the Taliban and declaring an internationally monitored truce are part of Ghani’s three-stage plan, which AFP has obtained key elements of.
He then suggests holding an early presidential election in which the Taliban might participate in order to form a “unity government.”
Following that, a slew of development projects throughout the country will be introduced, followed by the restoration of the constitutional system.
Officials say Ghani has already discussed his proposal with a number of foreign diplomats.
After gathering 30 documents from various political parties and civil society representatives, as well as from Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, the council’s chairman, Afghanistan’s High Council for National Reconciliation declared Sunday that it would compile its own recommendations.
The Taliban, a hardline Islamist movement that was deposed from power in 2001 by a US-led invasion, has repeatedly refused to participate in any election.
Elections in Afghanistan have a turbulent past, with systematic bribery, low turnout, and insurgent activity.
The conference aims to kick-start peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban, which have stalled since they started in September.
Meanwhile, the country is rife with terror, with government forces clashing with the Taliban in two districts of Kandahar, the insurgents’ stronghold, in recent days.
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN