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Taliban veteran urges seizing opening for Afghan peace

Founding member of Taliban calls on Afghans to refrain from seeking revenge amid likely withdrawal of foreign troops

Shadi Khan Saif   | 23.01.2020
Taliban veteran urges seizing opening for Afghan peace FILE PHOTO

KABUL, Afghanistan

Sensing a peace deal with the U.S., a former member of the Taliban in Afghanistan, urged the warning sides in the country to refrain from exchange of barbs or seeking revenge at this key juncture.

Addressing a moot over the launch of a Peace Survey in Kabul, the Taliban-era Finance Minister Agha Jan Motasim, said the U.S. seems determined to reduce troops in Afghanistan and pave a way for a deal that would see the conflict end.

“We, the Afghans, should refrain from repeating mistakes of the past when rival factions of the Mujahedeen and the Communist groups led to the destruction and devastation of the whole country following the withdrawal of the Soviet forces,” he warned.

The former member of the insurgents’ militant organization Queta Shura stressed the modern Afghanistan rebuilt with generous foreign aid should not be compared to the one inherited by the Taliban, which was torn apart by the Mujahedeen factions.

A phenomenal 65% of Afghans in this study by the Institute of War and Peace said they want the Kabul government to lead peace talks with the Taliban, not any political groups or individuals.

Speaking on the occasion, the leading candidate for the office of vice president, Amrula Saleh, said the Taliban must clarify their “special relations” with Pakistan.

He said the ongoing talks in Qatar between the U.S. and Taliban might reach a deal between the two, but not between Afghanistan and the Taliban.

This came as the Taliban has, after consultations in Pakistan, proposed a temporary cease-fire to pave the way for the signing of a deal with the U.S., a move disregarded by Ashraf Ghani-led Afghan government as “ambiguous” as it does not clearly call for a comprehensive cease-fire.

A source privy with the developments told Anadolu Agency the Taliban are reluctant to give-up their main leverage -- violence -- in these talks and they are only inclined towards “reduction in violence” with little or no explanation of what would this amount to.

The Afghan government, however, stands firm on demand for an all-out cease-fire ahead of the resumption of formal peace talks.

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