The Afghan President, Ashraf Ghani, is emerging as one of the key negative roles in the entire US-Taliban peace deal. Pakistan’s devotion and attention to the Afghan peace process has failed to galvanize Mr. Ghani with all the respective parties. While addressing at a public gathering in Nangarhar, the Afghan president declared intra-Afghan peace process conditional to the Taliban completely “leaving” Pakistan. Afghan president wants Afghan Taliban to cut ties with Pakistan.
Mr. Ghani is of the view that the US-Taliban peace deal is skeptical and raises questions to the ideology of the Taliban. The Taliban have termed their fight against the foreigners, especially Americans, jihad and they have stood firm on it for about two decades full of blood-shed. He said, “You [addressing to the Taliban leaders] have decided to make peace with the foreigners so what does your jihad mean now? Killing of fellow Afghans is a crime.” These fellow Afghans, however, are no different than the rogue bits of Taliban and al-Qaeda who have denied the peace deal. The Taliban leaders promised in their agreement that these rogue sects will be taken care of, and even killed if necessary, which was mentioned by the Afghan president “illegal” because at the end of the day, they all are Afghan “citizens”.
The peace deal signed in Doha, Qatar on Feb 29 laid out the world a detailed time-table for a full troop withdrawal from Afghanistan within the next 14 months. The agreement was expected to lead to negotiation between the Taliban and the Kabul government, seeking an end to the armed conflict that began 19 years ago in 2001. The Taliban made the agreement to halt attacks in the war-torn country in return for a prisoner switch and the US lifting sanctions against them at all levels.
Ghani has denied to these arrangements that would see the Afghan government releasing 5,000 Taliban prisoners as a condition for direct dialogue between the two sides. The Afghan president said, “If the Taliban have imposed release of their prisoners as a condition for intra-Afghan talks, we also have some conditions; they should inform me when are they going to leave [break ties with] Pakistan.”
As Pakistan got to know that Afghan president wants Afghan Taliban to cut ties with Pakistan, in a statement, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said the Afghan president should “inquire the United States of America for an explanation” of the clause of the deal on the exchange of prisoners. Later Tuesday, the Afghan Foreign Ministry submitted a formal protest to the Pakistani embassy, saying it “strongly condemned” Qureshi’s remarks on Afghanistan’s internal affairs.