Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Afghan Peace Plan: United States seeks help from Pakistan

The US special envoy to Afghanistan talked with Pakistan about Afghan peace plan. Also the Biden administration’s new strategy is to seek national elections in Afghanistan’s transitional government, officials said on Monday.

The outline of a new strategy was high on the agenda when Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad held talks with the Pakistan’s COAS General Qamar Javed Bajwa at GHQ Rawalpindi.

General Austin Miller and other officials were with Khalilzad. General Qamar was accompanied by DG ISI, Pakistan’s Special Envoy to Afghanistan and  Special Assistant to the Prime Minister of National Security.

Khalilzad’s visit, the first in Biden administration, comes amid a desperate attempt by the US to end the war politically. Khalilzad flew from Doha, where he was holding talks with the Afghan Taliban.

He was previously in Kabul. There he shared a road map for progress in the peace process developed by the Biden government.

Letter to Afghan President

Likewise, US Secretary of State wrote a letter to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani outlining a four-point plan for the Afghanistan. The Afghan peace plan calls for a UN-sponsored meeting of foreign ministers from Pakistan, Iran, Russia. Also from the United States, China and India to pursue an “integrated approach” to Afghanistan.

The Afghan government has accepted solid proposals for a new inclusive government that would lead to a comprehensive ceasefire.

In Rawalpindi, according to official sources, Khalilzad informed Pakistan about the new proposal.

However, statements by the military’s media wing revealed little about the meeting. “The issues of mutual interest, regional security and the ongoing reconciliation process in Afghanistan have been discussed … The visiting official praised Pakistan’s role in the ongoing peace process,” read the official Press Release (ISPR).

Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation and General Austin Scott Miller, Commander Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan called on General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) at GHQ today”, says #ISPR

Sources said Ambassador Khalilzad requested Pakistan’s help in advancing the peace process under a new strategy developed.

Read More: US sees renewed role for Pakistan

The new US plan aims to break the impasse in slow peace talks with a roadmap for a future Afghan government with Taliban representatives. Also to revising Afghanistan’s constitution using the current “preliminary draft” and the requirements for a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire.

Media said, the Biden administration was calling for national elections to form “transitional peace government in Afghanistan”. The Taliban reportedly rejected the idea of   a new election by calling it a Western intervention.

Khalilzad is believed to have asked Pakistan to use its influence on the Taliban to speed up the process.

US decided to reconsider ‘Doha agreement’

After assuming responsibility, the new US administration decided to reconsider the Doha Agreement that the Trump administration signed with the Taliban in February 2020. The agreement contains a roadmap for withdrawing US troops in exchange for the Taliban, which does not allow terrorist reuse of Afghanistan, as well as participation in talks in Afghanistan.

Under the agreement, all US and other international forces must leave Afghanistan by May 1. The Biden government and NATO countries also have a military presence in Afghanistan. Both have stated that they must not stick to the plan.

The Taliban have been accused of violating the terms of the deal. The United States and NATO insist that troop reductions must be conditional.

However, the US Secretary of State’s letter suggests that the Biden administration has not ruled out leaving Afghanistan on May 1.

Read More: Afghan Leader warns US against Quitting Peace Deal

Analysts believe Biden’s government appears to believe that the Ghanaian government creates obstacles to the peace deal and is therefore receiving a clear message that the United States can leave Afghanistan if Kabul does not respond positively to the new plans.

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