US gives 4-point strategy to Kabul

Blinken in his letter to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Dr. Abdullah Abdullah has warned that if the peace deal with the Taliban is negated, it would help the terror outfit to make territorial gains, reports Asian Lite News

President Joe Biden has chalked out a four-point strategy for the Afghanistan government under President Ashraf Ghani, with a vision to end the decades-old war, warning of dangerous and dire consequences if the peace deal with the Taliban is scrapped.

In a letter, written by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, addressed to the Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Head of the Afghan peace council Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, it has been warned and intimated that if the peace deal with the Taliban is negated, it would result in an opportunity for the terror outfit to make “rapid territorial gains,” which may lead to toppling of the Afghan administration under President Ghani.

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“The best way to advance our shared interests is to do all we can to accelerate the peace talks and to bring all parties into compliance with their commitments,” read the letter of US Secretary of State, which was handed over to the Afghan President by US’ Special Envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad, during his recent visit to Kabul.

Afghanistan President Mohammed Ashraf Ghani

In the letter, Afghan government has been informed that US is launching a high-level diplomatic engagement with various countries, including Afghan neighbours for the purpose of accelerating the peace efforts.

As per the four-point strategy, Washington has proposed a UN-sponsored meeting of foreign ministers of Iran, China, Russia, Pakistan and India to discuss what it called “unified approach” for the Afghan peace.

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“It is my belief that these countries share an abiding common interest in a stable Afghanistan and must work together if we are to succeed,” wrote Secretary Blinken in his letter.

Zalmay Khalilzad has been instructed to ensure that the US’ proposal is shared both with the Afghan administration and the Taliban.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and chairman of High Council for National Reconcialtion Abdullah Abdullah having discussions.

The US maintains that implementation of the proposal would enable both Afghan government and the Taliban to:

1. Develop the foundational principles that will guide Afghanistan’s future constitutional and governing arrangements.

2. Develop a road map to a new inclusive government.

3. Develop the terms of a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire

“We have prepared a revised proposal for 90-day reduction in violence, which is intended to prevent the spring offensive by the Taliban to coincide with our diplomatic efforts to support a political settlement between the parties,” read the letter.

Importantly, the letter also mentions that US is considering full withdrawal from Afghanistan by May 1, 2021.

The letter gave a staring glaring warning to Ghani administration, stating that negation of the Afghan peace deal would result in toppling of the Afghan government.

U.S. Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad during the talks in Doha

“Even continuation of the financial assistance of the US to your forces, after the American military withdrawal, I am concerned that the security situation will worsen and the Taliban could make rapid territorial gains,” read the letter.

“I am making this clear to you that you understand the urgency of my tone regarding the collective work outlines in this letter,” the letter concluded.

Defiant Afghan VP says ‘no change’ in policy

Meanwhile, Afghan Vice President Amrullah Saleh took on a defiant tone as he reacted to a letter from US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to President Ashraf Ghani, which included an urgent proposal to help restart stalled peace talks between Kabul and the Taliban.

“There are those who say a letter has reached you. Yes. We are not concerned by the letter; no change has come on our stance, and neither there will be any change,” Saleh said during a memorial for a former vice president in Kabul.

US troops in Afghanistan.

“The essence of a leader is tested at the time when he is not shaken from letter, bomb, plot and outcry, and stands on the principle,” he added.

Blinken’s letter to Ghani comes amid intense diplomatic efforts by the US administration to revive the intra-Afghan peace talks, which began in September last year between the Taliban and Ghani’s emissaries.

It also follows a visit by US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad who proposed forming a new government in Afghanistan during his meeting with key Kabul leaders last week.

The letter asked Ghani to “develop constructive positions” on Khalilzad’s proposals to “jumpstart the flailing peace process.”

Afghan officials, however, said that Ghani had received a letter but declined to share more details.

UN envoy in Doha to push peace process

Meanwhile, the United Nation’s envoy for Afghanistan is due to arrive in Qatar on Tuesday to meet Afghan government and Taliban representatives this week in a fresh push on the fractious Afghan peace process.

UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan Deborah Lyons was also expected to meet US special envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad and Qatari officials during the visit. These are crucial meetings as the outcome will decide the fate of year-long talks in Doha whether they should be continued or put under a moratorium.

Also Read – Ghani stresses on Afghans’ right to peace