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ICG wants US to launch direct talks with Taliban

ICG wants US to launch direct talks with Taliban

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On
Jul 21, 2018 - 12:07

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): Washington has been urged to empower an envoy to speak to the Talibaninfo-icon and clarify that US troops could leave Afghanistaninfo-icon if the movement and the Afghan government sign a peace deal broadly acceptable to Afghan societyinfo-icon.

At the same time, the International Crisis Group (ICG) asked Taliban leaders to drop their refusal to talk to the Afghan government and engage Kabul.

Last month’s Eid truce proved there was a strong domestic constituency for peace, the group said, calling for all sides to seize the opening to move toward peace.

The Eid ceasefire led to a dramatic fall in bloodshed. But there were two attacks claimed by the Islamic State (ISIS), which failed to dampen celebrations. Tens of thousands of Afghans crossed battle lines to visit friends and kin.

In a report, ICG referred to President Ghani’s offer of talks without preconditions, hailing the proposal as a bold step. The Taliban, however, stick to their stance on direct talks with the US.

In a policy shift, US officials suggest Washington’s willingness to speak directly to the Taliban and put the issue of troop withdrawal on the table.

“All sides should build on the momentum created by the Eid ceasefire and these latest developments,” ICG stressed, asking the US to open a formal channel to the Taliban leadership.

All sides should take confidence-building steps, including further ceasefires, prisoner exchanges or greater transparency in coordination between Kabul and insurgents in delivering basic services in Taliban-controlled areas.

“The US speaking directly to the Taliban is the best bet for getting to negotiations and kick-starting a long-overdue peace process,” the global organisation remarked.

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