Chinese ambassador to Afghanistan Liu Jinsong said on Wednesday the level of distrust between the Afghan government and the Taliban is a key obstacle in the way of achieving peace in the country and that this issue has created serious challenges.
He said China has always supported the issue of peace talks and that they “continue to facilitate the talks based on the principle of (it being) Afghan-led and Afghan-owned.”
He questioned why little progress appears to have been made and said: “Everyone knows the reason - because of a lack of trust for the central government and the Taliban and also other reasons.”
He said there were many challenges at the moment regarding the issue and that the “Taliban have also some kind of topic that some stakeholders can’t accept.”
He stated there was some optimism however around peace talks and in terms of the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) – China, US, Pakistan and Afghanistan – “we have some kind of mechanism, we can do something, (in the) future we can do something - for the Taliban - and we also had some kind of talks, you know - well some talks are on the table and some talks are under the table.”
But, Afghanistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) has said that until now Pakistan has not put the necessary pressure needed on the Taliban to get the militant group to join the peace process.
“We hope that Pakistan abides by what it promises, we have acted upon what we decided, we are waiting for the new Pakistani government to implement their commitments in a true manner,” said MoFA deputy spokesman Sibghat Ahmadi.
This comes a day after officials from the High Peace Council (HPC) said that discussions have started in several provinces across the country to pave the way for a permanent truce.
Talks have started in several provinces and the results will be made public before Eid-al-Adha, said HPC spokesman Sayed Ehsan Tahiri.
A high level government source, speaking on condition of anonymity, has said that there is the possibility that the ceasefire could last for two months.
Meanwhile, addressing guests at the inauguration of an electricity substation in Kapisa province on Wednesday, President Ashraf Ghani hinted at the possibility of a ceasefire and said a decision will be made soon.
He said government wants long-lasting, sustainable peace for Afghanistan.
He also said discussions were ongoing about hoped for peace talks with the Taliban.
“Peace comes in daylight not on a dark night, not behind curtains or in the absence of people; not without the permission of the nation; we want to bring peace which is lasting and permanent and give support to every Afghan,” said Ghani.
Ghani also stated that without reforms Afghanistan would never be able to stand on its own two feet and that the country cannot rely on foreign aid forever.
He said “no country has become prosperous through foreign aid”.
During his visit to Kapisa he held a meeting with security officials.
He assessed the situation and was briefed by officials on the current situation.
He also told them a ceasefire over Eid-ul-Adha was important.
The new substation that Ghani inaugurated will provide 30,000 families with much needed electricity.