Abdullah Abdullah – Afghanistan’s Chief Executive – has said that accepting the Taliban’s demand of keeping the Afghan government out of the peace process will mean that an end to Afghan conflict will remain “a dream”. Abdullah’s statement came after the Taliban recently refused to attend the fourth round of peace talks in Qatar this week, possibly due to differences and disagreements on “the involvement of Afghan officials, a possible ceasefire and prisoner exchange.”
“In any peace deal in which the rights of our citizens, that have been gained with a lot of sacrifices, are not respected, the deal is a dream and will never happen. Today the talk about the withdrawal of foreign forces is an excuse for continuation of war and gaining more opportunities.” Abdullah told gathering on Wednesday.
Abdullah also said that the Taliban had not changed, as many perceived, over the years, along with accusing Pakistan for “supporting” the group. “We haven’t seen any change in the Taliban so far and that country that supports them, has not unfortunately changed its policies toward us either,” said Abdullah.
However, Pakistan has denied any support for the Taliban and argues that it does not hold any sway over the group.
Moreover, in a rare show of pragmatism, the newly appointed Afghan National Security Advisor Hamdullah Mohib remained open to constructive cooperation with all neighbouring states, especially Pakistan, while seeming optimistic about bringing peace in his country.
When asked about how he sees the US vis-à-vis Pakistan in holding the government allegedly responsible for acts of terrorism against the people in Afghanistan, the Afghan NSA did not let the anchor put any words in his mouth and engage in any kind of negativity by simply stating that “terrorism is the enemy of us all”. Further adding that “we are all tied together in the region.” This highlights that the NSA is focused on bringing peace to his country by whatsoever legitimate means possible, rather than being part of any self-interested conflicting politics.
Even though efforts to reach a negotiated settlement in Afghanistan have gathered place recently, the Taliban, however, have refused to sit down with representatives of the Afghan government, mainly because they perceive the Kabul government as a “US Puppet”.
A Taliban leader, while talking to Reuters, said that the group had demanded from the U.S. authorities to release 25,000 prisoners through a prisoner exchange, however the US authorities were not interested in such an exchange.