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Ghani due in US to discuss peace talks with Trump

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KABUL, Sept. 28, 2019 (Xinhua) -- Afghan President and presidential candidate Mohammad Ashraf Ghani (R) casts ballot at a polling center during presidential election in Kabul, capital of Afghanistan, Sept. 28, 2019. Afghanistan held presidential election on Saturday. (Xinhua/Rahmatullah Alizadah/IANS) by .
Afghan President and presidential candidate Mohammad Ashraf Ghani (R) casts ballot at a polling center during presidential election in Kabul, capital of Afghanistan, Sept. 28, 2019. Afghanistan held presidential election on Saturday. (Xinhua/Rahmatullah Alizadah/IANS)

President Ghani briefed Trump about his “seven-point peace plan” for the Afghan government, and US President emphasized the need for a ceasefire as a precondition for peace…. Reports Asian Lite News

AFGHANISTAN-BALKH-NAWROZ-CELEBRATION by Kawa Basharat.
Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani

President Donald Trump has invited his Afghan counterpart Mohammed Ashraf Ghani to visit the US which was accepted by the latter, said a statement of the Afghan Presidential Palace.

The invitation was extended during a telephone conversation in the United Arab Emirates where President Ghani was on an official visit on Thursday, according to the statement.

The Palace spokesman Sediqqi tweeted that President Ghani briefed Trump about his “seven-point peace plan” for the Afghan government, and US President emphasized the need for a ceasefire as a precondition for peace.

Trump also said that for the peace process to succeed the Afghan government’s management and involvement are needed and must begin from now on, reported Tolo news.

“During the talks the US president expressed gratitude to Afghan President Ghani over his cooperation in releasing two professors of American University of Afghanistan (AUAF) and also praised Afghan security forces in defeating the Islamic State group’s fighters in the eastern Nangarhar province,” the statement further said.

KANDAHAR, May 23, 2019 (Xinhua) -- An Afghan security force member takes part in a military operation against Taliban militants in Shahwalikot district of Kandahar province, Afghanistan, May 22, 2019. (Xinhua/Sanaullah Seiam/IANS) by Sanaullah Seiam.
An Afghan security force member takes part in a military operation against Taliban militants in Shahwalikot district of Kandahar province, Afghanistan, May 22, 2019. (Xinhua/Sanaullah Seiam/IANS)

More than 600 members of the Islamic State group and their families including women and children have surrendered to security forces in Nangarhar province in Afghanistan over the past couple of weeks, according to officials.

The Taliban outfit set free two lecturers of AUAF including an American and an Australian on Tuesday as part of the prisoners’ swap for three high-level Haqqani group’s leaders to accelerate the peace process in Afghanistan.

Pak Role in Afghan Peace

For decades, Pakistan has played an active but negative role in Afghanistan, a Congressional report has said, asserting that Islamabad wants a weak government in Kabul. In its latest report on Afghanistan, the independent and bipartisan Congressional Research Service (CRS) identified Pakistan as the most important neighbour of Afghanistan. Pakistan, it said, has played an active, and by many accounts, a negative role in Afghan affairs for decades.

“Pakistan’s security services maintain ties to Afghan insurgent groups, most notably the Haqqani Network, a US-designated Foreign Terrorist Organisation (FTO) that has become an official, semi-autonomous component of the Taliban,” CRS, which periodically prepares reports on issues of importance for Congressmen for them to make informed decisions, said.

 by U.S. Embassy Kabul.
US Ambassador Zalmai Khalilzad (File)

Afghan leaders, along with US military commanders, attribute much of the insurgency’s power and longevity either directly or indirectly to Pakistani support, the report said, adding that President Donald Trump has accused Pakistan of “housing the very terrorists that we are fighting”.

US officials have long identified militant safe havens in Pakistan as a threat to Afghanistan’s security, though some Pakistani officials dispute the charge, it said “Pakistan may view a weak and destabilised Afghanistan as preferable to a strong, unified Afghan state (particularly one led by an ethnic Pashtun-dominated government in Kabul; Pakistan has a large and restive Pashtun minority),” the CRS said. However, instability in Afghanistan could rebound to Pakistan’s detriment; Pakistan has struggled with indigenous Islamist militants of its own, the report added.

Afghanistan-Pakistan relations are further complicated by the presence of over a million Afghan refugees in Pakistan, as well a long-running and ethnically tinged dispute over their shared 1,600-mile border. “Pakistan’s security establishment, fearful of a strategic encirclement by India, apparently continues to view the Afghan Taliban as a relatively friendly and reliable anti-India element in Afghanistan,” the CRS said.

Members of Afghan security forces stand guard near the site of a tractor bomb attack in Kabul

“India’s diplomatic and commercial presence in Afghanistan — and US rhetorical support for it — exacerbates Pakistani fears of encirclement. Indian interest in Afghanistan stems largely from India’s broader regional rivalry with Pakistan, which impedes Indian efforts to establish stronger and more direct commercial and political relations with central Asia,” the CRS said in its latest report on Afghanistan.

The CRS said insurgent and terrorist groups have demonstrated considerable capabilities in 2019, throwing into sharp relief the daunting security challenges that the Afghan government and its US and international partners face. At the same time, prospects for a negotiated settlement, driven by direct US-Taliban talks, are uncertain in light of the September 2019 cancelation of those negotiations and the Taliban’s continued refusal to talk to the Afghan government, it said.

The CRS warned that a potential collapse of the Afghan military and/or the government that commands it could have significant implications for the United States, particularly given the nature of negotiated security arrangements. Regardless of how likely the Taliban would be to gain full control over all or even most of the country, the breakdown of social order and the fracturing of the country into fiefdoms controlled by paramilitary commanders and their respective militias may be plausible, even probable, the report added.

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