A letter, written by the US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani last week, was leaked to media showing the US is pushing the Afghan government for a participatory government in the war-torn country
A letter, written by the US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani last week, was leaked to media showing the US is pushing the Afghan government for a participatory government in the war-torn country.
In the letter, published by an Afghan news media outlet TOLOnews, Blinken was seen telling Ghani that the US hasn’t yet ruled out the possibilities of pulling out all troops by May 2021, the deadline stipulated in the 2020 US-Taliban agreement. He, however, added the review of the US-Taliban deal was still ongoing.
Acknowledging the Afghan government’s concern regarding the high-level of violence, Blinken also suggested numbers options to Ghani to accelerate the peace process for a durable peace settlement, and a permanent ceasefire.
One of the options suggested by him is to call the meeting of foreign ministers of regional countries, including India and Iran, under the leadership of the United Nations to broaden the regional consensus.
Another option he suggested the US asking Turkey to host a senior-level meeting of the Taliban and the Afghan government to finalize a peace agreement in the coming weeks. This suggestion, at least at the surface, appears to indicate that the US expectations of getting any meaningful outcomes from the ongoing intra-Afghan talks in Doha, Qatar, are almost nill.
To reduce violence, he said, “We have prepared a revised proposal for 90-day reduction-in violence, which is intended to prevent the Spring Offensive by the Taliban and coincide with our diplomatic efforts to support a political settlement between the parties.”
He has reportedly also shared a draft detailing the process to form a participatory government.
In the end, in what appears to be a veiled warning to make real compromises, he said, “Even with the continuation of the financial assistance from the United States to your forces after an American military withdrawal, I am concerned that the security situation will worsen and the Taliban could make rapid territorial gains.”
He further added, “I am making this clear to you so that you understand the urgency of my tone regarding the collective work outlines in this letter.”
However, Ghani’s trusted aide and the Afghan Vice President, Amrullah Saleh, downplayed his letter, saying the letter can’t change the government stance on the peace process.
“We will not ignore our constitution. We can discuss elections and dates but will never let anyone to take the people’s right to vote,” he was quoted as saying by TOLOnews. “We need peace but we never accept coerced and imposed peace,” he added.