KABUL, April 5, 2021: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has drawn up a new proposal for peace with the Taliban ahead of an international conference aimed at jump-starting faltering talks between the two warring sides, official sources said.
Prior to this, the United States had received support from Russia and other stakeholders. In its leaked proposal, the United States expressed its desire to see some form of transitional government participation in the Taliban, although Ghani has always insisted that it can only be elected in the ballot box leader.
According to official sources, Ghani intends to introduce his three-phase plan at a United Nations-supported Turkish conference in which the United States, Russia and other major regional countries will attend the conference.
The date of the event has not yet been determined.
As part of an agreement reached with hardliners last year, the United States is only a few weeks away from the May 1 deadline for withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.
Ghani’s three-phase proposal was obtained by Agence France-Presse, and its main content included reaching a political settlement with the Taliban and announcing a ceasefire under international supervision.
He then proposes holding an early presidential election in which the Taliban could take part to form a “government of peace”.
That would lead to a slew of development programmes across the country, followed by rebuilding the constitutional framework.
Ghani has already shared his plan with several international diplomats, officials said.
Afghanistan’s High Council for National Reconciliation said Sunday it would pull together its own proposals after collecting 30 documents from different political parties and civil society members, as well as from Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, who heads the council.
The Taliban have always refused to participate in any form of elections.
Afghanistan has been in a history of chaos in opinion polls, with elections plagued by rampant fraud, low turnout rates and insurgent violence.
This meeting was to promote peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban. Since its inception in September, there has been little progress in the negotiations.
At the same time, violence in the country is rampant. In the past few days, government forces have clashed with the Taliban in two areas of insurgent Kandahar.