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Thursday, June 8, 2023

Afghan Peace: Another Bonn Conference On Its Way

The US has suggested an international conference on Afghanistan peace and future settlement

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Omid Sobhani
Omid Sobhani
Omid Sobhani is a senior journalist at Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and the Transcontinental Times.

AFGHANISTAN. Kabul: Six months after the intra-Afghan peace talks fail to bring down the violence and with no progress on the table, the US has drawn a new path for a peaceful settlement in the future. 

On Wednesday, the US State Department official said that the United States has suggested an international conference on Afghanistan. In his three-day visit to Kabul, the US peace envoy for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad has met with influential political figures and discussed the establishment of a transitional period to move toward a future political structure. He has also discussed defining the principles of the future system, and hold an UN-hosted international conference on Afghanistan.

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Recently, a senior U.S. State Department official held a press briefing with reporters in Kabul. In the press briefing, he gave a proposal to convene an UN-sponsored international conference on Afghanistan that will boost faltering peace efforts.

The officials added that the proposed UN conference would include neighboring Iran, Pakistan, and other regional powers. It will also discuss possible frameworks for a post-war Afghanistan.

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“Whether there should be a transition period, what it should be like, how the power-sharing should be formed,” the official said. 

Meanwhile, the US embassy in Kabul released a statement on Thursday that said, “In Kabul, Khalilzad and his team discussed various options to propel the process forward and was encouraged by what they heard. The Islamic Republic and the Taliban must find a path to a political settlement and a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire.”

Formation of participatory government 

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Khalilzad has reportedly discussed various options and alternatives to propel the formation of a participatory government in Afghanistan during his meetings with the Afghan political leaders in Kabul, including President Ashraf Ghani.

Khalilzad tweeted that the Afghan govt and the Taliban must find a path to a political settlement and a permanent ceasefire.

“With all parties, I outlined our focus on Afghanistan, diplomacy, and garnering wider international support to help Afghans make more rapid progress on the peace process,” Khalilzad tweeted. 

“The Islamic Republic and the Taliban must find a path to a political settlement and a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire. In Kabul, I discussed various options/alternatives to propel the process forward.”

Sources close to former Afghan president Hamid Karzai and Abdullah Abdullah, the head of the High Council of National Reconciliation (HCNR), said that the US envoy handed them a draft of the participatory government plan and asked them to share their views as soon as possible. 

Read Also: Afghanistan: IS Attack On Kabul University Leaves 25 Dead

Peace talks will be side lined 

According to the sources, the US envoy told the Afghan politicians that the peace talks in Doha will be sidelined and that a Bonn Conference-style meeting will be held at the international level to discuss the prospect of a participatory government that would include the Taliban. 

“A grand international conference that will be similar to the Bonn Conference will be held, in which the Taliban and the republic side will participate at the leadership level. At the same time, the international community, including the United States and the regional countries, will reach a political agreement that will take its legitimacy from the international community,” said Shahzada Massoud, a close aide to former president Hamid Karzai. 

The Presidential Palace has not yet commented, but President Ashraf Ghani had rejected the prospect of an interim set up in the country which Khalilzad proposed on his previous trip to Kabul months ago. 

Green lights from the Afghan government 

Recently, Ashraf Ghani said that the Taliban will not see an interim government in Afghanistan while he is alive. 

President Ashraf Ghani’s National Security Adviser Hamdullah Mohib has said on Wednesday that the Afghan government is working with various factions and considering a wide range of alternatives to achieve peace in the country.

“The international community and the Taliban should both give their guarantee to the Afghan people before anything else,” added Mohib.

Meanwhile, Khalilzad left Kabul today for Doha to discuss the issue with the Taliban and to gauge their reaction to the US’s new proposed outline for peace. 


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