Abdullah: Talks Should Focus on Ceasefire, Violence Reduction

This comes as the talks between the republic side and the Taliban have stalled over the past 11 days.

Abdullah Abdullah, the head of the High Council of National Reconciliation, on Thursday said that he has instructed the peace negotiating team representing the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in the talks with the Taliban to focus on a ceasefire and a reduction in violence.

Abdullah also hailed efforts made by the republic side for talks on peace.

“In a video call with the Republic’s Negotiation Team in Doha, I listened to their report, the progress they have made, and the challenges they face. I praised the team for their tireless efforts, and hard work for peace. I instructed them to continue their efforts for peace,” tweeted Abdullah.

“I reiterated the republic’s commitment for peace and to finding a political settlement for the current crisis. I also instructed the team to focus on ceasefire, reduction of violence and an end to the targeted killings as the priorities of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan,” said Abdullah.

This comes as the talks between the republic side and the Taliban have stalled over the past 11 days.

Meanwhile, a member of the peace negotiating team of the republic side has called on the Taliban to return to the negotiations and share their demands at the peace negotiating table.

An audio tape attributed to Mohammad Amin Ahmadi, a member of the republic’s negotiating team, has surfaced in the media. In it Ahmadi said that an interim government is a must for bringing peace to Afghanistan.

Ahmadi also said that President Ashraf Ghani isn’t a popular leader for the world arena and that Ghani will not have a place in the interim setup.

Ahmadi also said that the people must try to save the system, not the government.

Also, the republic team has accused the Taliban of having no will to bring peace to Afghanistan.

“The interim government is coming, because peace is not possible without it;  in fact, the ultimate effort is to save the system, not the government. They will be sacrificed, Ghani (President Ashraf Ghani) is the first who will be sacrificed, he has no supporters in the world,” said Mohammad Amin Ahmadi, a republic negotiator.

Meanwhile, Ahmadi told TOLOnews that broadcasting the audio tape was unethical.

However, the country’s politicians believe that all options should be used to end the war and violence in the country and that both sides should reach a political agreement.

“All parties should be involved in the national politics of the country whether it comes through an interim govt or any other way, this is one of the options,” said Abdul Sattar Murad, a member of Jamiat-e-Islami party.

“Unfortunately, there is no agreement between the president and the head of the High Council of National Reconciliatoin about moving the peace process forward,” said Mohammad Ismail, a former jihadi commander.

18 days have passed since the two sides announced the second stage of the talks. During this period, the two sides have organized only three meetings on the agenda of the talks with all the meetings concluded without any breakthrough.

Regional nexus:

The Afghan government believes that the regional countries also have the responsibility to contribute effectively to the Afghan peace process. However, the role of countries in the region has been vague in the Afghan peace process.

Afghanistan’s Chief of Army Staff Gen. Mohammad Yasin Zia, in reaction to a tweet of Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, said: “Unfortunately, your understanding of the current war in Afghanistan is incorrect. The Taliban is fighting against the people of Afghanistan not against US. We act decisively against a group of enemies of the Afghan people.”

On Wednesday, Shamkhani in a tweet said: “In today’s meeting with the Taliban political delegation: I found the leaders of this group determined to fight the US. Someone who has been under US torture at Guantanamo for 13 years, has not given up fighting the US in the region.”

This comes as Taliban’s deputy leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar visited Iran on Tuesday to meet top Iranian officials, including Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

Baradar on Wednesday met Iran’s National Security Adviser Ali Shamkhani.

Iranian media reports have said that Shamkhani in a meeting with the Taliban’s visiting delegation has clarified that Iran will not recognize a government in Afghanistan that comes through military pressure and war.

Nevertheless, a Taliban delegation led by Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai met in Moscow today with Zamir Kabulov, the Russian president’s envoy for Afghanistan affairs, and discussed the Afghan peace process, said Mohammad Naeem, Taliban spokesman.

Abdullah: Talks Should Focus on Ceasefire, Violence Reduction