‘Afghan government should be flexible on talks with Taliban’

'Kabul would hold direct talks with the Taliban in a fortnight,' says, Abdul Salam Rahimi, Minister of State for Peace

July 28, 2019 09:34 pm | Updated 09:37 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Afghan President  Ashraf Ghani.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

The government of President Ashraf Ghani should be flexible on talks with the Taliban, a prominent Afghan figure has said.

Dr. Ghulam Farouq Azam, a former Mujahideen leader who held dialogue with the UN to end Soviet intervention in the 1980s, said Kabul should trust local networks and the traditional consultation process.

“The Kabul government’s position is often an obstacle (in negotiation with insurgents). We have a rich tradition of Jirga, negotiations. They need to do their homework,” Mr. Azam told The Hindu on the phone.

He urged President Ghani to allow necessary space to the difficult dialogue to unfold.

His comments came on Sunday when Kabul witnessed the launch of Mr. Ghani’s election campaign as well as a huge blast.

Addressing a large rally of his supporters at the Hall of the Loya Jirga in Kabul Polytechnic, the Afghan President said: “Peace is coming and negotiations will take place.”

The U.S. Special Representative, Zalmay Khalilzad, has held multiple rounds of talks with Taliban representatives.

On Saturday, Abdul Salam Rahimi, Minister of State for Peace, claimed that Kabul would hold direct talks with the Taliban in a fortnight. Within hours, Mr. Khalilzad responded that the U.S. and the Taliban will have to reach an agreement before Kabul’s government holds direct discussion with the rebels.

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