AFGHANISTAN. Herat: The Taliban has sent letters to senior Afghan politicians including Abdullah Abdullah, the chairman of Higher Peace Council, and Hamid Karzai, the former president, asking them to enter into direct talks with the group, sources familiar with the matter told Afghan TOLO News.
The office of Abdullah Abdullah, chairman of (HCNR), confirmed that it had received a letter from the Taliban, saying said that the letter is aimed to create discord on the republic side. “They have invited us for direct talks, but the republic side is unified and no efforts have been successful in creating discord on the republic side,” said Faraidon Khawzon, a spokesman to Abdullah.
A close source to former Afghan president Hamid Karzai has also confirmed that the Karzai office received a letter from the Taliban asking Karzai to participate in direct talks. “Mr. Karzai believes that if there is a direct talk, this could help bring a settlement soon,” said Gul Rahman Qazi, a close aide to Hamid Karzai.
No letter to President Ghani
Meanwhile, The Taliban have not yet talked officially on the matter, but it has been said that the office of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has not received any letter from the Taliban.
According to the Presidential Palace, President Ghani held a meeting with some senior political leaders including former president Hamid Karzai, Abdullah Abdullah, the chairman of HCNR, and former jihadi leader Abdul-Rab Rassould Sayyaf on Tuesday night, discussions the upcoming UN-led conference on Afghanistan in Turkey and the management of the country after the withdrawal of US forces.
“The president of Afghanistan has had a series of meetings with the political leaders of the country for restoring a just and dignified peace, there is a consensus about this matter,” said Latif Mahmoud, a deputy spokesman to Ghani.
“The republic side needs unity, we have created this unity and are working for its further development,” said Faraidon Khawzon, a spokesman to Abdullah Abdullah.
A week ago, the Taliban refused to take part in the UN-led peace conference in Istanbul after Joe Biden announced the withdrawal begins by May 1 and ends the complete pullout by September 11, the anniversary of the al-Qaida attack on the United States. The conference was scheduled to begin by April 24, but the Taliban conditioned the complete foreign troops’ withdrawal from Afghanistan first before attending any peace conferences.
Discussing his exit plan from Afghanistan in his first formal speech to lawmakers, US President Joe Biden said on Wednesday that the withdrawal will demonstrate “American leadership” by ceasing the cycle of endless armed conflict.
He said that war in Afghanistan was never meant to be multigenerational. “We wanted to get terrorists who attacked on 9/11 and we said we would follow some of them to the gates of hell to do it,” he said
The news of foreign troops has massively concerned Afghans, especially after US and UK embassies in Kabul warned their citizens not to travel to Afghanistan and leave as soon as they can.
Gen Mark Milley, the US military’s top officer, expected a “worst-case” scenario in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of foreign troops and warned of potential civil war and return of Al Qaeda in the country.
However, some in Afghanistan feel optimistic about it. “I am sure the situation won’t get worse than this, believe me,” Ali, a university student from Herat said. “Afghanistan has over 300,000 forces. And the Taliban has just 60,000 or more militants. I can’t imagine they overcome our forces.”