The Afghan civilian casualties on the rise since the beginning of Afghan-Taliban peace negotiations
In the February 28 dated letter to Ghani, Blinken proposed the conference in Turkey “to discuss a unified approach to supporting peace in Afghanistan…reports Asian Lite News
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has proposed a UN-led peace conference in a letter to Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani on the war-torn country’s prolonged issue, according to media reports.
In the February 28 dated letter to Ghani, Blinken proposed the conference in Turkey “to discuss a unified approach to supporting peace in Afghanistan”, Xinhua news agency quoted The New York Times, which obtained a copy of the proposals, as saying in a report on Sunday.
Envoys from the US, China, Russia, Pakistan, Iran and India would attend the proposed conference, according to the report.
The proposals included a road map for a future Afghan government with Taliban representation; a revised constitution; and terms for a permanent and comprehensive cease-fire.
US withdrawal from Afghanistan
Blinken noted in the letter that the US had not decided to pull out the remaining about 2,500 troops from Afghanistan by May, but expressed concerns that “the Taliban could make rapid territorial gains” following an American withdrawal.
The report said the existence of the letter, which was first reported by Afghanistan’s TOLO News, was confirmed by a US official in Washington and the Afghan government.
However, a State Department spokesperson on Sunday declined to comment on the letter, saying: “We have not made any decisions about our force posture in Afghanistan after May 1. All options remain on the table.”
The US and the Taliban signed an agreement in February 2020, which called for a full withdrawal of American military forces from the conflict-ridden country by May 2021 if the militant group meets the conditions of the deal, including severing ties with other terrorist organisations.
The administration of President Joe Biden had noted that the Taliban had not met its commitment under the US-Taliban deal.
The war in Afghanistan, which has caused about 2,400 US military deaths, is the longest one in American history.
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