• publish: 7 March 2021
  • time: 2:07 pm
  • category: Politics
  • No: 17158

Taliban not interested in joining interim govt

US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad proposed a shakeup of the stalled peace process this past week, including an interim government and a conference of key players, but his plan faced immediate objections by the warring sides.

According to Reuters, a Taliban leader in Doha who spoke on condition of anonymity said Khalilzad raised the possibility of an interim government and a conference with the insurgents’ negotiating team, as well as asking for a ceasefire or reduction in violence by 60-70 percent.

“Khalilzad has come with some ideas and his top agenda is the intra-Afghan dialogue to deliver some tangible results and very soon,” he said.

He said the Taliban would not join an interim government, but was not opposed to one being formed.

“We would recommend people with a good reputation for the interim government and this set up would need to work for at least two years to depoliticise all the government departments, including the security establishment,” he said.

They could consider the reduction in violence, but not a ceasefire, the Taliban leader said, and had asked Khalilzad to pressure the Afghan government to release 7,000 more Taliban prisoners, Reuters reported.

“We don’t believe any other conference in any country would help resolve the Afghan conflict,” he said.

Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, told Reuters they had not yet seen the plan, but if an alternative to talks in Qatar was sought, “it is doomed to failure.”

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani meanwhile made a fiery speech in parliament on Saturday, repeating his refusal to step aside for an interim government.

“Any institution can write a fantasy on a piece of paper and suggest a solution for Afghanistan” he said, warning any transfer of power would have to take place through elections as required by the constitution.

Reuters reported that two international officials in Kabul said Ghani’s fierce opposition would be a problem for the plan.

“The problem here is that Ghani can blame the United States directly … by challenging his legitimacy and considering an interim government it implies they are undermining the democratic process,” one of the officials said.

Khalilzad is currently in Doha after having spent three days in Kabul. He is expected however to also visit Islamabad where he will once again call on Pakistan to help push the peace process forward.

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