Tal­iban snubs Ghani, seeks of­fice in Doha

Afghanistan Pres­i­dent of­fers lo­cal of­fices to Tal­iban dur­ing a visit to one of its strongholds, Nan­garhar

DNA (Daily News & Analysis) Mumbai Edition - - FRONT PAGE -

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

Ashraf Ghani,

Afghan Pres­i­dent

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.

—REUTERS

Head of Po­lit­i­cal Of­fice of the Tal­iban Sher Mo­ham­mad Ab­bas Stanakzai at a con­fer­ence ar­ranged by the Afghan di­as­pora, in Moscow

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