Final week, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken despatched a blunt letter to Afghanistan’s president, Ashraf Ghani, earlier reported by the Afghan outlet TOLO Information, that proposed a number of steps to revive the stalled peace negotiations between the Afghan authorities and the Taliban. The letter, which requested the Afghan chief to “perceive the urgency of my tone,” was acquired by Mr. Ghani as a private slight, suggesting that he was one of many primary obstacles to the method, stated an Afghan official with direct information of the matter.
Mr. Blinken’s letter additionally signaled continued high-level assist for Zalmay Khalilzad, the longtime lead U.S. diplomat concerned within the peace course of, who’s a divisive determine in Kabul. Many in Mr. Ghani’s circle have resented the strain that the Afghan-born Mr. Khalilzad placed on the federal government over contentious points, together with the discharge of roughly 5,000 Taliban prisoners, throughout the lead-up to the talks in Doha, Qatar, which started in September.
Searching for to kick-start these lagging talks, Mr. Blinken proposed in his letter that the Taliban and Afghan management meet subsequent month in Turkey, the place they had been prone to talk about a cease-fire and power-sharing proposal outlined by American officers. Neither facet has agreed to the deal.
Mr. Blinken additionally pushed for a gathering of international ministers from Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Iran and the USA, hosted by the United Nations, to debate Afghanistan within the close to future. And Moscow will host a convention on the peace course of within the coming weeks that the Afghan authorities has agreed to attend.
As well as, Mr. Khalilzad, who’s in Doha, continues to satisfy with the Taliban in an effort to scale back violence in Afghanistan, and he’s exploring different methods the Taliban can interact Afghans and the worldwide group in pursuit of a political answer, in keeping with U.S. officers.
Extending the Might 1 deadline to pursue these diplomatic targets, with out the Taliban’s settlement, carries steep dangers.
The Taliban have threatened to renew assaults towards American and different Atlantic alliance forces if the USA unilaterally decides to maintain its forces past the Might deadline. American troops at the moment are hunkered down in a few dozen bases and carry out two primary missions: counterterrorism operations and advising Afghan safety forces at numerous headquarters.