US hints at talks with Taliban

US hints at talks with Taliban

KABUL - *Following the announcement of a temporarily ceasefire by Afghan government with the Taliban, the United States on Thursday said it is ready to participate in talks with the Taliban. *

Deputy Assistant to US President Donald Trump and Senior Director for Central Asia at the National Security Council, Lisa Curtis, said US cannot act on behalf of Afghan officials in the peace talks with the Taliban, but they want to participate in the talks.

“The United States is ready to participate in the discussion, but we cannot serve as a substitute for the Afghan government and the Afghan people. A political settlement must be negotiated through a process that is Afghan-lead and Afghan-owned,” said Curtis.

She said paying attention to Pakistan’s worries in the Afghan peace process is crucial.

“The fact is that the Afghan Taliban, including the Haqqnai network, has enjoyed sanctuary in Pakistan throughout the past 16 years of conflict. We have asked for Pakistan’s assistance and facilitating a peace process and we have sought understand Pakistan’s own core security concerns and ensure that its interests are taken into account in any peace process,” Curtis added.

Steve Brooking, Director of Peace and Reconciliation at the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), said the Afghan war does not have a military solution and that it should be resolved through politics.

“Even the Taliban political commission say that there could be no military solution, there has to be a political solution. Unfortunately, there are many people who still don’t fully subscribe,” he added.

Barnett Rubin, an American analyst, however said Pakistan, Russia, China and Iran are not letting peace and stability to come to Afghanistan.

“The Taliban are under a very weak pressure to come to some kind of agreement, because they have diplomatic relations with Russia, with Iran of course, with Pakistan and more than diplomatic with China and so on,” Rubin said.

President Ashraf Ghani on Thursday announced a ceasefire with the Taliban following a meeting of Afghanistan Ulema that issued a fatwa against the ongoing war and violence in the country.