Taliban snubs Ghani, seeks office in Doha
Afghanistan President offers local offices to Taliban during a visit to one of its strongholds, Nangarhar
Kabul: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Sunday offered the Taliban the possibility of opening an office in Afghanistan but the proposal was swiftly spurned by the group that is determined to keep his government out of accelerating peace talks.
Ghani has expressed alarm at the Taliban shutting his administration out of negotiations with the United States as well as recent Moscow talks with Afghan opposition politicians, and repeated earlier offers to give the group a secure official address to aid any future diplomacy between the two sides.
“If the Taliban wants an office, I will give it in Kabul, Nangarhar or Kandahar by tomorrow,” Ghani said while visiting the province of Nangarhar, a hotbed of insurgent violence on the border with Pakistan.
“We will bring a lasting and honourable peace to the country,” he said.
Nangarhar is a stronghold of the Taliban, the hardline Islamist movement that now controls or contests districts across nearly half the country, more than 17 years since they were toppled from power.
Taliban officials in Moscow last week stressed the importance of a formal office among a string of demands that included the removal of Western sanctions and travel bans on Taliban members, prisoner releases and an end to “propaganda” against the group.
Taliban spokesman Sohail Shahin later said that the focus was international recognition of their existing site in Doha, Qatar.
On Sunday he said Ghani was trying to harm the peace
If the Taliban wants an office, I will give it to them in Kabul, Nangarhar or Kandahar by tomorrow
efforts with his latest offer.
“Our demand about having an official political office is clear, we want that our office in Doha is recognised by the international community and the United Nations,” Shahin said.
Head of Political Office of the Taliban Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanakzai at a conference arranged by the Afghan diaspora, in Moscow