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Ceasefire is pre-condition in talks with Taliban: NSA

By Farhad Naibkhel

KABUL: Ceasefire is pre-condition to peace talks with the Taliban, said National Security Advisor, Hamdullah Mohib, who expressed government’s serious doubt over Taliban’s control on their frontline commanders and fighters, in which according to him Taliban are “not a single force”.

“It’s important to the Taliban to prove how much they have control on their fighters and commanders” the youngest security advisor told newsmen on Tuesday, putting a-month pre-condition ceasefire to test Taliban’s leadership unity in a bid to jump start intra-Afghan talks.

During press conference, Mohib spoke about seven-point plan for peace, saying the plan has been divided into three parts, negotiations with American – negotiations with the Taliban – negotiations with Pakistan.

“Before to engage with the Taliban, we should have a clarification from the America. Second part is about regional consensus, and the third is good governance issue,” he added.

In the past government had no pre-condition for peace talks with the Taliban, he added, saying “after one year we found that Taliban are not a single force and don’t have control over fighting.”

Based in our intelligence findings, he said, a number of key commander of Taliban have already joined Daesh, so this is important to the Taliban should prove that they have control over their fighters.

“To test the Taliban are one hand, we have suggested about one-month truce before to start Afghan negotiations,” he said, but it doesn’t mean to postponed the talks, but to seek a prove from Taliban about their control on its fighters.

In regards to negotiations with Americans and NATO, Mohib said there is a need for clarification that what the international partners want. “Our international partners want to continue its partnership with Afghanistan. We believe they want to maintain their partnership but there is need to discuss the kind of the partnership.”

In the aspect of negotiation with Pakistan, he said till Pakistan has not stop supporting and harboring militant groups, peace won’t have a good conclusion.

Afghan government wants to have a “guarantee” form Pakistan that it would no longer continue supporting militant groups, otherwise no negotiation will give result, he said, adding, it is clear to the world that Taliban are the puppet of Pakistan.

He also questioned Taliban-Pakistan relation, asking the group to must clarify how they will sever ties with Pakistan, calling on the Taliban to must stop killing Afghans once they came across the table of talks.

Hinting toward region consensus, Mr. Mohib said regional countries should agree with any process or agreement in regards to peace deal.  “If the region is not agreeing, war will be continued in Afghanistan.”

He explained according their one-year assessment, conflict in most of districts with high threats is over power, financial elements or some other issues.

However, he said to approve this plan they need to have a small internal consensus, like a small Jirga in which politicians, elite figures and parliament members would be involved.

He said the plan has shared with Americans, Europeans and other countries for consultation, American’s first feedback was not negative, while EU has welcomed it.

Moreover, he pointing to the fourth phase of Taliban offensives, and called it a failure.

Taliban wanted to “encircle” capital Kabul in a way but was failed, they are not in a good position now, as government is recapturing the districts from them one by one, he underlined.

US peace envoy to Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad held nine rounds of talks with Taliban in Doha of Qatar, and reached agreement in principle. But President Donald Trump called off the talks after a Taliban suicide bomber killed 12 innocent Afghans, and one American soldier in downtown of Kabul city.

However, Khalilzad is trying to put the talks back on truck as meet officials in Europe, Russia, China and now in Pakistan. He landed in Islamabad on Monday as part of efforts to find a negotiated end to Afghanistan’s longest war. Nevertheless, President Donald Trump has not expressed any interest in resuming talks with the Taliban so far.

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