Afghan Government Calls For Peace Talks With Taliban
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani offered to hold peace talks “without preconditions” with the Taliban, the latest in a long series of diplomatic efforts to end the 17-years-long war. At an international summit in Kabul, Ghani laid out a comprehensive peace framework that includes, among other stipulations, a long-term ceasefire, prisoner swaps and the Taliban’s recognition of the Afghan government and commitment to respecting the rule of law. Notably, Ghani made no mention of foreign forces or when they might leave Afghanistan, the Taliban’s main prerequisite for negotiations with his government. While the Taliban has not yet reacted to Ghani’s offer, the group released a statement Monday calling for the renewal of direct peace talks with the U.S. Although the Taliban faces constant setbacks, it currently holds more territory and is, by most accounts, more powerful than at any time since being driven from power in 2001.