On Wednesday, 28 February 2018, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani made a formal overture to the Taliban. Ghani offered members of this Islamist insurgency incentives to join negotiations in Kabul, agree to a ceasefire and become a peaceful political group (AP 1). Ghani’s proposed incentives include passports and visas for former insurgents, the removal of sanctions, the release of prisoners and an office in Kabul (AP 1). However, the Taliban have refused all talks with the Afghani government, insisting that any negotiations take place between them and the American government (AP 2). Their main demand is that the 14,000 American troops currently stationed in Afghanistan leave the country (Chicago Tribune, AP 2).
Analyst Habib Wadark has stated that now is a “perfect time for a ceasefire” (Al Jazeera), but only if the Taliban will work with the Afghan government. The Taliban has not found a willing negotiating partner in the United States, a country that has committed to an indefinite military presence in Afghanistan to defeat them (Chicago Tribune). On 29 January 2018, U.S. President Donald Trump stated “we don’t want to talk with the Taliban. There may be a time, but it’s going to be a long time,” (White House). If the Taliban agree to peace talks in Kabul, they may follow in the footsteps of Hezb-I-Islami. This former insurgent group accepted a peace deal last year and has since transitioned into a political party (NYT).
Tags: United States, Taliban, Afghanistan, Peace