Breakthrough expected in Afghanistan War

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Breakthrough expected in Afghanistan War

KABUL - The Taliban are holding discussions about President Ashraf Ghani’s peace offer and the group could possibly respond in a positive manner, said Hakimullah Mujahid, a former member of the insurgent group, on Wednesday.

Mujahid is now a member of Afghanistan’s High Peace Council (HPC).

“The Taliban are conducting consultations and there is the possibility that they give a positive response to the Afghan government, at a time that the war is going on, we hope that the Taliban come up with a positive response,” said Mujahid, TOLO News has reported.

Meanwhile, the minister of borders and tribal affairs, Gul Agha Sherzai, said a plan for a Peace Jirga has been outlined and will soon be sent to Ghani.

“We have held discussions with the leaders of the tribes, politicians, teachers and members of civil society institutions about the peace Jirga, we will send the plan soon to the president, I am sure that the president will allow us to convene the Peace Jirga,” said Sherzai.

In addition, Pierre Mayaudon, the European Union’s Head of Delegation to Afghanistan said in a meeting, “The Culture of Afghanistan, The Culture of Peace”, that the Taliban’s failure so far to reject the offer raises hopes that the group will act in a positive manner.

“The absence of a response by the Taliban is not a sign of refusal, may be it is a sign that they are debating about what kind of response they can give to this peace plan which is very complex. So we are not so concerned about the absence of a response,” said Mayaudon.

In February, Afghanistan held an international conference on peace in a bid to map the way forward to get the Taliban to denounce violence, endorse the Afghan constitution and enter into purposeful peace negotiations with government.

Ghani said the peace process, and a ceasefire must be agreed upon with the Taliban.

He also called on Pakistan to hold government to government talks and said: “We will be ready to starts talks with Pakistan and forget the past and start a new chapter.”

Ghani sent a strong message to the Taliban when he made the offer and said peace is now in their hands. He called on the group to accept the offer and to join the peace process and together with Afghanistan “save the country”.

He also announced the Afghan government will provide passports to Taliban members and their families and will issue visas, open an office for them - even in Kabul - and will work to remove sanctions against Taliban leaders.