Kabul ready to enter HIA-like deal with Taliban: Ghani

07 February, 2019, 13:46 | Author: Emmett Rice
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Ayubi said the attackers were eventually repelled after reinforcements arrived at the besieged base on the outskirts of the provincial capital, Kunduz city.

There were at least 23 soldiers and three members of the local police force among those slain. The clash between the rebels and the security forces lasted two hours.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the Kunduz attack.

Former Afghan Vice President Yunus Qanuni stressed that not all the Afghans think that their country is occupied.

Similar Taliban attacks reportedly occurred in Afghanistan's northern Baghlan province, where, according to local Azadi Radio, as many as 10 security personnel were killed in coordinated assaults by the Taliban.

In the checkpoint attack, the Taliban targeted the local police force in the province's Baghlani Markazi district on Monday night, triggering a gunfight that lasted for nearly two hours, said Safder Mohsini, head of the provincial council.

Ghani's comments were some of the most extensive since he met Khalilzad in Kabul last week after the latest round of talks.

Mr Stanikzai, who until recently was the head of the Taliban's political office in Qatar and remains a leading figure in the group, was giving his first interview to the worldwide media while attending a meeting in Moscow with senior Afghan opposition politicians.

The meeting comes on the heels of marathon talks between the Taliban and the U.S. in Doha that have been described as a breakthrough and the possible beginning of a negotiated peace that can bring stability to war-scarred Afghanistan.

The Taliban's longtime negotiator, Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai, who has taken part in all rounds of discussions between the insurgents and Khalilzad among other United States diplomats in recent months, will lead the Taliban delegation in Moscow.

"Peace talks with the Taliban continue, but [the Defense Department] has not received a directive to change the force structure in Afghanistan", said Manning.

Speaking to Afghan TV channel TOLOnews, President Ghani said: "Those who have gathered in Moscow have no executive authority".

But perhaps adhering to the maxim that in worldwide relations and statecraft there are no permanent friends or enemies, all parties that attended the Moscow conclave are working to protect their permanent interests in Afghanistan.

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President Ashraf Ghani has insisted on leadership and ownership of the peace process by Afghans who he said wanted "a dignified and stable peace" in their country.

Participants attend the opening of two-day talks between Taliban and Afghan opposition representatives, at the President Hotel in Moscow, Russia, Feb. 5, 2019.

The Pentagon's posture with Pakistan involves supporting Department of State as they pursue a diplomatic solution with Islamabad to end the conflict in Afghanistan while ensuring that Pakistan's equities are acknowledged and addressed in any future agreement.

The meeting, ostensibly organized by members of the Afghan diaspora in Russian Federation, also carried a quasi-official imprimatur. The insecurity and poverty plaguing the nation, making Afghanistan one of the worst places on earth to be a woman, were not mentioned.

He said that elections will be held on time. Domestic television coverage of the event was virtually non-existent.

Among them is potential presidential candidate Hanif Atmar, who resigned as Ghani's security adviser in August.

The roundtable, which saw women defend their rights, comes a week after the insurgents held talks with U.S. negotiators in Doha about ending the 17-year war.

Russian Federation is seeking to play a bigger role as peace broker in Afghanistan, ensuring that any post-peace Afghan government includes people close to the Kremlin. He, however, added that the Afghan government does not consider the gathering to be in the interest of peace.

Lavrov, however, criticized Washington for holding what he described as "behind closed doors" talks with the Taliban. "But if it does so without a ceasefire and some kind of discussions between the Taliban and the government in Kabul, it's going to look too much like we [the US] sold them out", Weinbaum told hosts John Kiriakou and Brian Becker.

The Afghan government is worrying openly that the USA will leave them at the mercy of the Taliban.

"The Taliban said they are ready to sever ties with al-Qaida and the Islamic State, and this is a good development", Ghani said.

The meeting came after a six-day meeting between the U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad and the Taliban in Qatar.

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