By Shadi Khan Saif
KABUL, Afghanistan (AA) - In a clear sign of internal rift, Afghan government's Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah on Monday criticized official handling of the peace process with the Taliban.
Chairing a meeting of the ministers at his office, Abdullah stressed all political parties and groups should be involved in the proposed negotiation team.
“Peace is not one person's monopoly, one person's wish -- but it is a collective desire, and the people of Afghanistan have the right to take a position regarding the peace process,” Tolo News, a local broadcaster, quoted Abdullah as saying.
He also underlined the relevance of his office -- which was created in 2014 as part of the National Unity Government -- in the wake of troubled presidential polls 2019 in which his rival, the incumbent President Ashraf Ghani, was declared winner as per preliminary results.
Ghani’s opposition, including Abdullah and former President Hamid Karzai, has been demanding efforts to jumpstart talks with the Taliban. However, the Kabul government has presented a comprehensive cease-fire as the fundamental condition for the talks to commence.
This comes as the Taliban, after consultations in Pakistan, proposed a temporary cease-fire to pave the way for the signing of deal with the U.S., a move disregarded by Ghani-led Afghan government as “ambiguous” as it does not clearly call for a comprehensive cease-fire.
A source privy with the developments has told Anadolu Agency the Taliban are reluctant to give-up their main leverage -- violence -- in these talks and they are only inclined towards “reduction in violence” with little or no explanation of what would this amount to.
The Afghan government, however, stands firm on demand for an all-out ceasefire ahead of the resumption of formal peace talks.
Meanwhile, the country’s National Security Adviser Hamdullah Mohib on Monday met with Germany’s special representative for Afghanistan Markus Potzel in Kabul.
According to Mohib’s office, the German envoy has offered to host the next round of intra-Afghan talks in the capital Berlin. No dates have been announced.