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US Asks UN to Convene a meeting of region’s Foreign Ministers on Afghan Peace Process

Washington Seeks Regional Support for Afghan Withdrawal

By Mujeeb R. Awrang

KABUL: A letter of the U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken to President Ashraf Ghhani has leaked where it suggests the United Nations to convene foreign ministers and envoys from Russian, China, Iran, India and the United States to discuss a unified breakthrough in support for peace in Afghanistan.

A spokesman for the Presidential Palace, Dawa Khan Menapal confirmed that Ghani received the letter sent by the US Secretary of State. 

Blinken said that he had sent a similar letter to the chairman of the high council for national reconciliation, Abdullah Abdullah, and he instructed the US special envoy for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad to share the proposals with the Taliban as well. “These proposals reflect some of the ideas included in the roadmap for the peace process that Ambassador (Hamdullah Mohib) shared with Ambassador (Ross Wilson, (charge d’ affairs),” the letter read.  

“The documents will enable the Islamic Republic and the Taliban to move urgently to the tasks of developing a)the foundational principles that will guide Afghanistan’s future constitutional and governing arrangements, b) a roadmap to a new, inclusive government; and c) the terms of a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire,” Blinken wrote in the letter.  

The Secretary of State said that the US would call on Turkey to host a senior-level meeting of both sides in the next weeks to finalize a peace agreement.

Referring to the high level of violence, he said that the US prepared a revised proposal for a 90-day reduction in violence that “is intended to prevent a spring offensive by the Taliban.”

He stressed that Washington has not ruled out any option and that it considers the withdrawal of troops on May 1, “as we consider other options”. Blinken expressed concerns on the rise of Taliban’s gaining territory after the US forces pull all troops out of Afghanistan despite the US continuation of financial support to the Afghan security forces.

Under the deal signed between the US and Taliban on February 29th, the US agreed to withdraw troop by May1. The deal also laid out the intra-Afghan negotiations that have been facing walls as the negotiating teams of the government and Taliban are yet to reach any progress.   

He also urged Ghani to work for national unity, saying that unity and inclusivity on the Islamic Republic side were essential for the “difficult” work that lies ahead.”

Earlier, the US envoy for reconciliation Khalilzad shared Washington’s new scheme with Ghani, Abdullah and a number of influential Afghan politicians.

The scheme includes several scenarios for the formation of a translation government as: “three independent and equal forces, parliament, legislative and executive; High Court and local courts’ ‘. A high council of Islamic regulation and a commission of modification of the constitution would be formed under the scheme.

But the European Union special envoy for Afghanistan, Roland Kobia said that the United Nations and World Countries have committed to protect the “achievements and Republic”. “Afghanistan has a Constitution, has elections, holds Loya Jirgas, has Joint Declaration with the US, is engaged in the Doha process. The IRA has the support of the vast majority of the international community + the world in UNSC and Geneva has committed to protect achievements and the Republic,” Kobia wrote on Twitter.

Ghani’s opponent accused him of making hurdles before the peace process to remain in power. A senior member of the Hezb-e-Jamia Party, Ahmad Zia Massoud said that peace would not be ensured until Ghani remained in power.

Talking at a ceremony held by the ministry of border and tribal affairs under the title of “stability and peace”, National Security Advisor, Hamdullah Mohib said that there was a difference between “stability and peace”.

Mohib that Afghanistan during its history has gone through peace, but has never experienced stability. Referring to the intra-Afghan negotiations, he had termed it as the only vital option to form a new system which would be acceptable for both the republic and Taliban leaders that could also lead into ending the war.

With the government and Taliban failing to make progress on the negotiation table in Doha, violence has been intensified rapidly across Afghanistan. The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan announced that over 3,035 were killed and 5,785 wounded in 2020.

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