Afghanistan’s Ghani says now is the time for peace

KABUL (AFP) – Now is the “right moment” for peace in Afghanistan, President Ashraf Ghani said yesterday as he once more called on the Taleban to negotiate with his government.

The Taleban have steadfastly refused to discuss peace with Ghani, whom they consider a United States (US) stooge heading an illegitimate regime.

But a series of talks in recent days seems to have shifted the needle in Afghanistan’s war, with the US and the Taleban claiming to have made significant progress during a summit in Doha.

Additionally, some members of Ghani’s circle attended overlapping talks in the Qatari capital with the Taleban, though only in what they called a “personal capacity”.

“In the past 18 years the time was not right for peace, for a realistic peace. Today is the right moment,” Ghani said at an European Union (EU) anti-corruption conference being held in Kabul.

“If we lose this opportunity then the responsibility (for the loss) is big.”

Ghani stressed that the Taleban and his government must negotiate.

“We are the two warring sides,” he said.

Following days of talks last week with US peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, the Taleban met Afghan representatives at an “intra-Afghan dialogue”.

The US has insisted on such talks and the two Afghan sides issued a joint resolution pledging a “roadmap for peace” for the war-torn country.

Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani. – AP