AFGHANISTAN NEWS AND VIEWS: Taliban offer: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani seeks talks

March 2, 2018

28 February 2018, for BBC

Former Taliban members surrender their weapons during a reconciliation ceremony in Herat, Afghanistan, 21 February 2018.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has offered peace talks “without preconditions” to the Taliban after 16 years of war.

Speaking at a peace conference in Kabul, he proposed measures including a ceasefire and prisoner swaps.

In return the Taliban would need to recognise the Afghan government and respect the rule of law.

Previous peace talks offers have not stopped attacks by the Taliban, who have yet to respond to the offer.

A Taliban spokesman told the BBC Afghan service they were waiting for reaction from their leadership.

On Monday the militants said they were prepared to enter direct talks with the US to find a “peaceful solution” to the conflict, but made no mention of negotiating with the government in Kabul.

In the past the Taliban have refused to talk to the Afghan government, a longstanding demand of the US.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani talks at the second Kabul Process conference at the Presidential Palace in Kabul on February 28, 2018.

Mr Ghani has made previous peace offers before which came to nothing

Mr Ghani held out the possibility that the Taliban could be removed from international blacklists and eventually recognised as a legitimate political group with their own office, in Kabul or another agreed location.

“The Taliban are expected to give input to the peacemaking process, the goal of which is to draw the Taliban, as an organisation, to peace talks,” he told delegates from 25 countries and organisations involved in the so-called “Kabul Process”.

“A ceasefire should be held, the Taliban should be recognised as a political party and trust-building process should be initiated. Now the decision is in your hands, accept peace… and let’s bring stability to this country.”

Who’s going to compromise?

By Dawood Azami, BBC World Service

There’s a sense we’ve been here before. Mr Ghani and his American backers have issued similar calls to the Taliban in the past.

The president didn’t mention foreign forces or when they might leave Afghanistan – the main public demand of the Taliban before any peace talks can take place with the Afghan government.

Why the militants would shift their stance or agree to a ceasefire is unclear. Although the Taliban are under pressure and have suffered heavy casualties, they are more powerful now and hold more territory than at any time since they were driven from power in 2001.

Mr Ghani’s government, on the other hand, is facing internal challenges and is divided on certain issues.

In calling again for talks he’s trying to put pressure on the militants – but it’s an acknowledgement that, despite President Trump’s more aggressive US military policy, no one side can win the conflict militarily.

Timing is also important. Fighting is intensifying and the conflict is getting more complicated, with the emergence of groups like so-called Islamic State.

But in the end, who’s going to compromise? All the major parties say they want peace through dialogue – but they want it on their own terms.

Presentational grey line

Tens of thousands of people – combatants and civilians – have been killed in Afghanistan since US-led troops drove the Taliban from power in 2001.

Under previous initiatives, some former Taliban members have surrendered, but the group has only grown stronger.

The US military stepped up assistance to Afghanistan last year and since then air strikes have increased.

Afghan Army commandos during an exercise in Herat, Afghanistan, 03 February 2018.

The Afghan army has suffered mounting casualties

Foreign combat forces withdrew in 2014. Since then the Taliban have extended their influence over swathes of the country and areas taken from them are now back under their control.

The Afghan army has suffered mounting casualties, although the Taliban are also reported to have been hard hit by US air strikes.

Related Posts:

War is a Racket! by The Department of Homeland Inspiration – featuring the Art Ranger and Michael Sheridan

War is a Racket! by The Department of Homeland Inspiration – featuring the Art Ranger and Michael Sheridan

Art Ranger, along with her colleague Michael Sheridan, review “War is a Racket” by Brigadier General Smedley D. Butler. This highly decorated war hero becomes dogged activist and tours the country giving speeches about how he was in effect, a bully for the corporations, then quit.  Art Ranger and Sheridan share excerpts of the text as well as a piece of their minds. Sonic textures provided by our back up band, The Dirty Pens.

ON THE MEDIA | Disrupting Journalism: How Platforms Have Upended the News, Columbia Journalism Review

ON THE MEDIA | Disrupting Journalism: How Platforms Have Upended the News, Columbia Journalism Review

After decades of shrinking revenues, and an increasing expectation among consumers that journalism should be free, the global media industry has reached a crisis point. As legacy news outlets shut down or lay off staff, misinformation and conspiracy theories run rampant, blurring the line between fantasy and reality. Trust in our institutions of governance continues to decline, fueling an alarming rise in extremism and political violence across previously stable democracies. In the Global South, the impact of journalism’s decline has been even more striking, with the rise of a new generation of autocrats skilled in manipulating the online conversation to suit their consolidation of power.

ON THE MEDIA | Meet the Next Generation of Mexican Filmmakers, Global Press Journal

ON THE MEDIA | Meet the Next Generation of Mexican Filmmakers, Global Press Journal

After the 1994 [Zapatista] uprising, a boom in documentary films focused on indigenous themes and communities — but the overwhelming majority, Sojob says, were made by people from outside the state. Her own interest in storytelling began when, using a camera that her father gave her, she recorded an ongoing land conflict between the people of Chenalhó and the neighboring town of Chalchihuitán. Unless there was some sort of testimony, she realized, no one would know what was happening, “that it was us, ourselves, who had to get out everything that was happening within, from our own context, from our community.”

1 Comment

  1. emiliangergard

    Thank you For your response!


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *