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Ghani offers Taliban recognition, release of prisoners

Ghani offers Taliban recognition, release of prisoners

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Feb 28, 2018 - 11:28

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): In an expected overture, the national unity government asserted its desire to strike a “truthful and sustainable peace deal” with the Talibaninfo-icon who are ready for reconciliation/

President Ashraf Ghani spoke of his administration’s desire for peace negotiations with the insurgent movement in his remarks to the second meeting of the Kabul process. For their part, the Taliban have offered to launch talks with the United States

A political framework for peace dialogue should be created with a ceasefire and the Taliban recognised as a political group with an official political office, the president suggested. The militant outfit would have to respect the rule of law, he said.

If they promise shunning the insurgency, Taliban prisoners may be freed and their names struck off from international blacklists. Former fighters and refugees could be reintegrated and provided with job opportunities.

Ghani promised his government would ensure facilities and security for the Taliban who joined the peace process. The president went on o call for government-to-government talks with Pakistaninfo-icon.

While presented his most comprehensive peace plan to the Taliban, he said talks would begin if the rebels agreed to a cease-fire. He also proposed a constitutional review as a confidence-building measure for both sides. Ghani.

“Your presence here is a visible reminder that we are an international community united not only by shared threats, but shared interests and shared opportunities,” he said.

“We stand determined to overcome those threats, expand our shared interests and grasp those opportunities. We have analyzed the scale and scope of the threat and we’ve drafted resolutions to address the threat.”

The president added the global fraternity was yet to develop a consensus on taking coordinated action to counter the threat. He paid tributes to those who were not in the hall and had contributed to the fight against terrorism.

Contrary to the caricature of the land of “endless conflict”, Afghanistaninfo-icon’s history was one of long periods of peace and prosperity, punctuated by foreign invasions and subsequent rebuilding, he remarked.

Every Afghan, regardless of the group to which he/she belonged, felt equal to the other, a sense rooted in their past, as every major city had served as a capital of an empire or a state, the president explained.

“Our sense of justice in derived from our Islamic faith, culture and civilization. As a 99.9% Muslim country, our faith has always united us in the face of the adversities and allowed us to overcome the seemingly impossible.”

In the past, he continued, Afghanistan was believed to be an isolated and landlocked country that would remain reliant on others forever. Hundreds of thousands of tourists travelled in complete safety from Iran on the great trail to Pakistan, India and Nepal, he recalled.

During Pakistan’s wars of 1965 and 1971, he said, the king chose peace over conflict. “We’ve not threatened our neighbors, nor allowed others to use our country to threaten the stability of others.”

He said: “Our memory of peace, however, is what drives our current vision of peace and security. We are confident that we can, once again, resume our place as an Asian roundabout.”

Great regional successes, such as the TAPI pipeline that was inaugurated in Herat last week, proved the leadership role Afghanistan was playing in regional and global prosperity and stability, the president maintained.

“Fortunately, the location of Afghanistan signifies the importance of the country as a key for regional prosperity and also provides country-wide opportunities for people that will strengthen social fabrics of Afghan societyinfo-icon.

“Luckily, the implementation of new regional projects is transforming Afghanistan’s location, which was viewed as a challenge, into a golden opportunity.”

He appreciated Turkmenistan and other friendly countries of Central Asia that preferred the historical transformation over continuation of isolation and extended their hands of cooperation to Afghanistan.

Ghani also thanked India and Iran for the implementation of the Chabahar port project, minimising Afghanistan’s reliance on Pakistan.

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