President Ashraf Ghani on Wednesday assured the Afghan public that peace will finally prevail in the country and that the nation should not have any concern about the ongoing talks between the US and the Taliban in Doha.
Mr. Ghani who has been out of the US-Taliban talks lashed out at the group over the recent attacks and said that Afghans will never bow to the insurgents.
“Peace will come, the elections will be conducted. We will return to the era of [former president] Dr. Najibullah or to the era of the government of Mujahideen,” Mr. Ghani at a ceremony on 100th Independence Day at Darulaman Palace on Wednesday evening.
Sources familiar with the US-Taliban talks in Doha said the negotiations this time will focus on three key issues: the mechanism of Taliban prisoners release, a decision on whether to keep US intelligence in Afghanistan after a peace deal and at what level of leadership the peace deal between the two sides should be signed.
“After signing the peace deal, there are some minor issues including assurance, regional countries, the withdrawal of foreign forces, the release of Taliban prisoners. These are the issues on which they will hold talks to create a mechanism for them,” said Nazar Mohammad Mutmaen, a political analyst in Kabul.
“The recent statement by the US president that some part of the US intelligence will remain in Afghanistan has turned into a matter of discussion for the Taliban and it has raised some concerns. In this round, they will again discuss the issue in detail,” said Sayed Akbar Agha, a former Taliban commander.
The Wall Street Journal citing the US officials has said that the Taliban initially demanded an immediate pullout, however, the US negotiators pressed for a withdrawal stretched over 18-24 months while the Taliban softened their demand to nine to 12 months.
This comes few days after US Special Representative on Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad said the US was ready to seal a peace deal with the Taliban if the group is ready for it.
Hopes for a potential peace deal between the US and the Taliban emerge following President Trump’s meeting with his top advisors, including Mr. Khalilzad. In this meeting, Mr. Trump was briefed on progress in the talks with the Taliban and a possible deal with the group.