Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah on Monday said that Afghanistan is still in a sensitive situation and that the opportunity for peace was lost, hinting at US President Donald Trump’s move to call off negotiations with the Taliban.
Mr. Abdullah called on the nation to remain united.
“Today, we are as far from peace as we were years ago,” Mr. Abdullah said at a ceremony on Martyrs Week and the 18th anniversary of National Hero Ahmad Shah Massoud’s assassination. “Perhaps it was an opportunity to open the way for peace and to reach a peace that was missed.”
Former Vice President Mohammad Yunus Qanooni said at the same event there is a need for the formation of a coalition from the address of “Jihad and resistance” front to bring sustainable peace in the country.
“We have to boost our unity from the address of Jihad and resistance and come up with a comprehensive agenda for peace in Afghanistan,” Mr. Qanooni said.
“The country is once again in a crisis and today we do not know what is the status of peace and election,” said Massoud’s brother Ahmad Wali Massoud who also competes Ghani in the upcoming presidential polls scheduled for the end of this month.
“Afghanistan is again in a crisis. There is a need that all those people either rendered sacrifice or given their test join hands for peace,” said Haji Din Mohammad, deputy head of the High Peace Council.
This comes after on Saturday US President Donald Trump said in a series of tweets that Washington was calling off peace negotiations with the Taliban after the group admitted to an attack in Kabul that killed at least 10 people, including a US soldier.
Mr. Trump said he had been set to meet senior Taliban leaders, and separately, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, at Camp David on Sunday. However, he canceled the meeting and called off negotiations after the group admitted to an attack in Kabul that killed a US soldier.
Trump said if the Taliban cannot agree to a ceasefire during these very important peace talks, and would even kill 12 innocent people, then they probably don’t have the power to negotiate a meaningful agreement anyway.
The US and the Taliban “agreed in principle” on a deal after nine rounds of talks in Doha and UAE, according to US chief negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad.
On May 9, the sixth round of US-Taliban talks ended in the Qatari capital, Doha. The talks so far have been focused on four key issues: US forces withdrawal, counterterrorism assurances, a ceasefire, and intra-Afghan negotiations.
In an interview with TOLOnews last week, Mr. Khalilzad said the United States and the Taliban have reached “agreed in principle” on a deal, but added that it is not final until US President Trump agrees on it.
Mr. Khalilzad said that based on the draft agreement, the US will withdraw 5,000 troops from five bases in Afghanistan within 135 days if conditions in the agreement are addressed by the Taliban.
The Afghan conflict has cost almost 2,400 American lives and hundreds of billions in taxpayer dollars. As the war approaches its 18th year, 14,000 US troops are still in Afghanistan and senior intelligence officials have repeatedly warned that the country remains fragile and could once again become a terrorist haven.