KABUL – President Ashraf Ghani expressed his readiness to initiate negotiations with Taliban for a durable peace in war-ravaged Afghanistan.
The Afghan president asserted that ceasefire must be agreed upon with the Taliban adding that peace needs to be sought with the Taliban in order for them to become a political group.
“The Afghan government must be accepting and we will also work on the list of freeing Taliban prisoners”, he opined as he opened the second Kabul Process meeting in the Afghan capital on Wednesday.
In another surprising offer, Ghani expressed that the government would open an office for Taliban – even in Kabul – and will also work to remove sanctions against its leaders.
Ghani observed that today peace is in the hands of Taliban, calling on the group to accept the offer and join the peace process, together with Afghanistan to “save the country”. He also announced that the Afghan government would provide passports to Taliban members and their families and will issue visas.
Earlier in his speech, Ghani said Afghanistan is determined to overcome the current threats and expand shared interests and grasp opportunities.
He expressed his gratitude to delegates from all the countries in attendance for their support over peace in Afghanistan.
Claiming that the Afghan government and the international community had analyzed the scale and scope of the threat and drafted numerous resolutions and agreements to address the threat, Ghani noted that consensus was still needed to take coordinated action among states to counter the threat.
The president said Afghanistan’s sense of justice is derived from its Islamic faith, culture and civilization.
“As a 99.9% Muslim country, faith has always united Afghans in the face of adversities and allowed the countrymen to overcome the seemingly impossible,” added the president.
He stated that every Afghan, regardless of their ethnicity, was equal among Afghans and this sense of equality was rooted in the country’s past, as every major city had served as a capital of an empire or a state through history.
Ghani claimed that Afghanistan had never threatened any country and had also not let anyone use its soil to threaten another country.
The Kabul Process meeting on mapping out a plan for peace in Afghanistan is being attended by representatives from 25 countries and organizations including the UN and NATO.
Fresh Talks With Pakistan
President Ashraf Ghani also expressed his readiness to start government to government talks between Afghanistan and Pakistan for ushering in a new era of peace.
“We will be ready to starts talks with Pakistan and forget the past and start a new chapter,” said Ghani.