President Ashraf Ghani asks Afghan Taliban to ‘end ties with Pakistan’ for prisoner release
He also expressed his reservations over the peace agreement.
President Ashraf Ghani linked the release of Taliban prisoners with the group first breaking ties with Pakistan.
While talking to a public gathering in the eastern Nangarhar province, Ghani said that the Afghan Taliban had no justification for their insurgency after signing a peace deal with the United States.
“You [Taliban leaders] have made peace with the foreigners so what does your jihad mean now … the killing of fellow Afghans is a crime’’, Ghani said.
– He expressed his reservations over the peace agreement.
“If the Taliban have set release of their prisoners as a condition for intra-Afghan talks, we also have conditions; they should tell me when are they going to leave [break ties with] Pakistan’’, Ghani added.
The deal which was signed in Doha, Qatar on 29th February 2020 lays out a schedule for full troop withdrawal from Afghanistan in 14 months. The agreement would lead a dialogue between the Kabul government and the Taliban, expecting an end to the conflict that has been going on since 2001.
The Taliban agreed to stop attacks in Afghanistan in return for a prisoner swap and the United States lifting sanctions against them. Ghani has expressed his dissatisfaction over this arrangement, under which the Afghan government will release 5,000 Taliban prisoners as a condition for direct talks between the two sides.
The Taliban announced that it would continue attacks on the Afghan forces after implementing a 7-day ‘Reduction in Violence’ pact last week. Taliban Spokesperson Suhail Shaheed said that the ‘intra-Afghan’ talks will begin once their poisoners are released.
The US, EU and the UN asked the revolutionaries to abide by the peace agreement, which was reached after years of negotiations between multiple stakeholders.
“Following the Taliban’s reported resumption of military operations, the UN calls for continued reduced violence to maintain & enhance an environment conducive to the start of intra-Afghan negotiations, which should lead to a permanent ceasefire and a lasting political settlement”, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan said.
Pakistan also urged Kabul and Afghan Taliban to show flexibility and move forward with the peace deal. In a statement, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that the Afghan President should ask America to explain the clause of the deal on exchange of prisoners.
Later on, the Afghan Foreign Ministry submitted a formal protest to Pakistan, saying that it ‘strongly condemned’ the minister’s comments.
“The Government of Afghanistan believes that relying on policies of good-neighbourliness, Pakistan needs to take practical steps towards enhancing bilateral ties in various areas and refrain from making such irresponsible statements regarding the internal affairs of Afghanistan”, the statement read.
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