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President Ghani offered Taliban peace talks, not surrender: US

State-Department-665x411A top US official has said President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has offered the Taliban group for participation in peace talks as the official insist that the offer did not mean that the group should surrender.

Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Alice Wells of the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs told reporters that President Ghani offered a dignified process during the Kabul Process-II summit.

“This is not a surrender that’s being offered to the Taliban, but a dignified process for reaching a political framework. And again, he emphasized that this is negotiations without preconditions, a process that would lead to a cessation of violence, halt the ties with terrorism, and respect for the Afghanistan constitution,” she added.

According to Alice “But it was clear, I think, that the Government of Afghanistan has listened carefully to the Taliban and was responsive to the Taliban in underscoring that issues like office and passports and delisting – the mechanics of how you actually arrange a dignified negotiation – were very much in their – in the forefront of their thinking and included in this offer that was put forward by President Ghani.”

She said “I mean, clearly, I think that there is a point of agreement with the Taliban that there needs to be a political solution, and I think we’ve made it very clear under the South Asia strategy that we will not allow the Taliban to win militarily, but the goal of the South Asia strategy is to provide a path to a political settlement.”

This comes as the Taliban group has so far refrained from participation in direct peace talks with the Afghan government and insists on direct talks with the US. -KP

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