Increased Afghan Insecurity Will Have Global Impact: Ghani

This comes as 20 days have passed since the talks between the delegation representing the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban have stopped.

President Ashraf Ghani on Tuesday said that if the current opportunity for peace in Afghanistan turns out to be lost, and Afghanistan plunges toward an uncertain future, the consequences of such a scenario will cause severe harm to regional and global peace and stability.

“The peril, Mr. Prime Minister, lies in misunderstanding this moment—peace in Afghanistan is within grasp if parties and their backers in the Taliban embrace a true political solution, but Afghans will not submit to surrender. It must be understood that our heroic security forces are not defeated and neither have we lost our will or capacity for serving our people,” Ghani stated during a virtual meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Presumably referring indirectly to Pakistan, the Afghan leader said that the international community should ask countries involved in the peace process in Afghanistan to respect Afghanistan’s national sovereignty, stop harboring terrorism and stop interfering in the internal affairs of Afghanistan.

“This is the moment where regional consensus and international consensus on the need for guarantees for a stable and prosperous Afghanistan are essential. We must ask the world to ask all stakeholders to respect the rules of sovereignty and international relations, stop giving sanctuaries and stop interfering in the affairs of their neighbors,” said Ghani.

“God forbid, if Afghanistan plunged into uncertainty, consequences for the region and the world will be dire,” warned Ghani.

Recently, the commander of the United States Central Command, Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, has said that the level of violence in Afghanistan remains too high and that the US is reviewing the Taliban actions as well as the peace agreement to find a way forward in the near future, but he stressed that there has to be a conditions-based approach when it comes to the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan.

Speaking in an online conversation hosted by the Middle East Institute, McKenzie said: “The Taliban continue to resort to extreme violence and targeted killings across the country and frequent attacks on the Afghan forces. While they have mostly avoided attacks on US and coalition units, the level of violence is just simply too high and so that is an action that we look at.”

He said the US continues to watch Taliban actions and “I know the administration is taking a close look at the way forward in accordance with the February 2020 peace agreement.”

He said that some key elements to that plan require the Taliban to take action, but “we all agree that the best path is going to be a negotiated political settlement among the Afghans.”

“No one debates that essential point. However, you have to take a conditions-based approach,” he said.

He said that both sides “have got to show that they are willing to make the concessions that are going to be necessary to find a political path forward.”

Gen. McKenzie said that he remains concerned about the actions the Taliban have been taking up until this point. He added that the new policy is under review and “we will have a way forward in the near future.”

He mentioned that since 9/11, the US strategic objective in Afghanistan remains to safeguard the homeland from attacks by terrorist groups, primarily al Qaeda and recently Daesh and preventing them from using Afghanistan as a base and safe haven.

Meanwhile, Afghanistan’s First Vice President Amrullah Saleh in an interview with France 24 has said that foreign fighters including members of the Al-Qaeda network continue to support the Taliban.

“Today, as I am speaking to you, at least 500 foreign terrorists largely affiliated with Al Qaeda or fighting alongside the Taliban are in Afghanistan,” Saleh told France 24.

This comes as 20 days have passed since the talks between the delegation representing the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban have stopped.

The latest reports say that five of the republic negotiators have returned back to the country.

“A few members of the delegation of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan have returned for a short period of time to Afghanistan for personal reasons,” said Najia Anwari, a spokeswoman for the State Ministry on Peace Affairs.

Laurel Miller, Director of the Asia Program at the Crisis Group has said that her organization is deeply concerned about a possible collapse of the talks and increased violence by the Taliban in the country.