Afghan president calls on Taliban to 'enter serious talks' with Kabul

by Garry Watts January 29, 2019, 0:33
Afghan president calls on Taliban to 'enter serious talks' with Kabul

USA and Taliban officials have agreed in principle to the "framework" of a peace deal, The New York Times quotes US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad as saying after five days of talks between the militant group and the United States in Qatar.

USA negotiators held six days of talks with the Taliban in Qatar, last week.

Negotiators for the USA and the Taliban insurgents have reached "agreements in principle" on key issues for a peace deal that would end 17 years of war in Afghanistan, the top United States envoy said.

In light of Khalilzad's report back, Ghani on Monday addressed the nation in a televised message and called on the Taliban to engage in direct talks with government.

The statement quoted Zalmay Khalilzad as saying that he had discussed a cease-fire deal with the Taliban but that there was no progress so far on the issue.

The palace said Khalilzad also confirmed that no agreement had been made on a withdrawal, adding that any such decision would be coordinated with Kabul.

Abdul Hakim Mujahid, a former Taliban official and now a member of the High Peace Council, an independent body of clerics and respected Afghan figures, said he believes the Qatar talks resulted in a "good understanding between both sides" but that more discussions are needed in the coming weeks or months.

"We want peace quickly, we want it soon, but we want it with prudence", Ghani said.

The Taliban has also insisted throughout this process that US troops leave before a cease-fire is reached, while USA and Afghan negotiators want to see a cease-fire before US troops leave.

Civilians continue to pay a bad price for the Taliban insurgency, with some estimates showing the Afghan conflict overtook Syria to become the world's deadliest previous year. The group also rejected a ceasefire and direct talks with Ghani's administration. The eventual agreement could lead to a full pullout of US troops and a Taliban ceasefire, and open up dialogue between the Taliban and the Afghan government.

Khalilzad said in an interview with The New York Times that an agreement in principle was reached with the Taliban on the framework of a peace deal "which still has to be fleshed out" that will see the insurgents commit to guaranteeing that Afghan territory is not used as a "platform for worldwide terrorist groups or individuals".

Lleyton Hewitt: Bernard Tomic threatened my family and tried to blackmail me
However at present there were " cultural standards " not being met that were preventing any imminent return. Kyrgios posted a poll to his Instagram followers asking whose match Hewitt was watching.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said last week that 45,000 members of the country's security forces had been killed since he took office in 2014.

Australian combat troops were withdrawn in December 2013, but 400 personnel remain in Afghanistan as trainers and advisers.

According to Mr Ghani's office, Mr Khalilzad in a meeting on Sunday denied that there had been any discussions with the Taliban about future governance arrangements in Kabul.

"The Taliban have committed, to our satisfaction, to do what is necessary that would prevent Afghanistan from ever becoming a platform for global terrorist groups or individuals", he told the Times.

"We felt enough confidence that we said we need to get this fleshed out, and details need to be worked out", he added, according to The New York Times. Trump has said he wants to pull out half the remaining 14,000 American troops, according to United States officials.

Afghans have expressed tentative hopes about the talks tempered by fears of an American exit with Afghan security forces taking staggering losses, the government facing election upheaval, and civilians paying a disproportionate price after almost two decades of bloodshed.

"Frankly, if the USA troops withdraw from Afghanistan then the promise of good behaviour from the Taliban is really of no effect".

Both U.S. officials and the hardline Islamic group hailed progress after the talks on Saturday with Khalilzad.

The Western-backed government in Kabul has struggled to fend off a resurgent Taliban and other militant groups.

Ghani, who addressed a panel at the World Economic Forum on January 24, disclosed new figures on casualties of Afghan forces by saying that more than 45,000 Afghan security personnel have lost their lives since he took office in September 2014.

The Taliban stage near-daily attacks on Afghan forces and control over almost half the country.

Recommended News

TOP News

How to Watch Keys vs Svitolina Online [Australian Open]
Having known only tennis since a child, she said she still needed to mature both on and off the court. Ukraine's Elina Svitolina celebrates her win against Madison Keys .

Netflix Goes Against The Stream With Its First Best Picture Oscar Nomination
In the realm of snubs, none stung quite so loudly as Bradley Cooper failing to show up on the Best Director list. After directing for decades, Spike Lee received his first best director nomination.

Windows 10 October update is finally rolling out to everyone, again
Potentially, its surface phone project, "Andromeda", could potentially be canceled as the company moves on to other ventures. It's even worse if you own a Microsoft Lumia or Lumia XL: June 11, 2019 will be the last date those devices are supported.

Petra Kvitova: 'Just a few people believed I could do it again'
After Kvitova double-faulted to offer up a break point at 1-all, Osaka converted it with a cross-court backhand victor . Behind a tennis player is always a team and I am really grateful, so thank you guys.

Super Blood Wolf Moon - What is it?
The Super Blood Wolf Moon dazzled those who could see it in the Americas and parts of Europe. A rare " super blood Moon" eclipse took place in the sky above Flintshire this morning.

Focus remains on potential weekend storm; flurries possible tonight, tomorrow
People in the Midwest should hunker down for possible blizzard conditions, as strong winds may also be present, said Snowfall totals of at least half a foot are expected across nearly the entire Northeast, from eastern OH to Maine.

Tom Brady Shows Love For Offensive Line In Latest Instagram Story
"I hate Tom Brady , he's been accused of cheating before, I want him to be caught", he told NFL Draft Diamonds . In this interview with NFL Draft Diamonds, he was asked what prompted him to delve into the Brady project.

FORECAST: Light snow showers possible this weekend
A weak disturbance passes through the area today, bringing a chance of light snow or flurries in the afternoon. This Cold Warning will remain in effect until the low temperature for the day is projected to be above -15°C.

Trump ally Roger Stone charged with offences including witness tampering
Mr Stone still possessed many of those communications when he gave false testimony about them, prosecutors said in the indictment. Stone said the raid was an "overreach" by Mueller, and was concerned about the impact it had on his wife and his dogs.

Beaten Australian Open finalist Kvitova believes she can win another slam
And just think: At the start of 2018, the now-two-time major victor was ranked well outside of the top 50. Her defensive efforts and movement stymied all of Kvitova's attempts to find rhythm in the decider.