Ghani left Kabul early Monday for Kuwait, to attend the funeral ceremony of the late Emir, Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah, and will then travel on to Doha.
Speaking to Reuters, a close aide to Ghani said Monday: “Several meetings are planned to discuss efforts for deepening Afghanistan-Qatar ties and mutual cooperation in various areas.”
The aide then said Ghani will also meet the Afghan representatives who are holding talks with the Taliban.
“But it is clear that Ghani will not meet the Taliban officials as there has been no reduction of violence and they continue to kill innocent civilians,” said a senior western diplomat overseeing the ongoing peace process.
This latest development comes amid stalled peace talks between the two sides. Also, last week, US Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad flew from Washington to Doha in what is believed to be a bid to restart the first phase of talks.
This weekend, Khalilzad told NPR that the US “will not walk away” from the war-torn country should the intra-Afghan negotiations fail.
“We will not make the mistake that was made after the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, which was to abandon Afghanistan. And the consequences were grave for Afghanistan because of the mistakes the Afghan leaders made,” he said.
He said now was the time for Afghanistan to seize the opportunity to negotiate a roadmap “where groups of different ideas or ideologies, values, can coexist in the same country.
“And at the same time, there is a lesson for the United States that we cannot abandon Afghanistan. We cannot turn our back.”
He said this did not mean the US necessarily needed to maintain a military presence in Afghanistan nor continue a war just to have a military presence – “but that if the conditions are right, [if] we don’t feel threatened, that we can withdraw our military forces or adjust them accordingly, but maintain focus, relations, economic assistance, political relations, diplomatic relations, to encourage the consolidation of a peace agreement, should it be arrived at by the Afghans.”
He stated the current peace talks situation was a moment for the Afghan leaders not to repeat the mistakes of the past, but instead to build a consensus-based system where all key players can participate, “and perhaps peace in Afghanistan can change the dynamics even regionally.”