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The Afghan Government Must Lead Peace Talks; National Security Adviser Says

Written by  Manager2
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Friday October 4, 2019
Kabul (BNA) Any peace in Afghanistan must be negotiated for Afghans by their elected leaders, the country's national security adviser, Hamdullah Mohib, says.
"We have objected to being part of the negotiations and not being a central part of this discussion," Mohib, 36, tells NPR's Rachel Martin from New York City, where he addressed the United Nations General Assembly on Monday.
"And if we want to see peace in Afghanistan, the Afghan government must be at the forefront of any negotiations," he added.

Mohib is back in the U.S. a little over six months after the Trump administration said it was ending contact with him after he criticized its approach to Afghanistan peace talks.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, who ran in the country's election over the weekend, did not attend this year's General Assembly. Despite hundreds of attacks by Taliban insurgents during the months before, national elections went ahead on Saturday, though voter turnout was low and there have been allegations of fraud and other irregularities. On Monday, however, both Ghani and his challenger, Abdullah Abdullah, claimed they were ahead as the vote count continues.
It is not clear how much sway the Taliban will hold or what possible role they will have in a new government.
In March, Mohib — who also served as Afghanistan's ambassador to the U.S. from 2015 to 2018 — accused the U.S. envoy to Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, of "delegitimizing" Ghani's government by excluding it from peace talks with the Taliban. Soon after, the U.S. told Ghani that Washington would end communications with Mohib.
U.S. negotiations with the Taliban, the closest the White House has come to ending a nearly 18-year troop presence in Afghanistan, collapsed in September when President Trump abruptly declared the talks "dead." An agreement was expected to include an initial withdrawal of more than a third of the 14,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan in exchange for a Taliban promise to not let the country become a base for global terrorist attacks.
The Taliban have said "doors are open" to resume talks with the United States. They have continued to mount frequent, large-scale attacks on Afghan civilians but also lifted bans on activities by the International Committee of the Red Cross and the World Health Organization.
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Last modified on Friday, 04 October 2019 10:30

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