Final week, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken despatched a blunt letter to Afghanistan’s president, Ashraf Ghani, earlier reported by the Afghan outlet TOLO Information, that proposed a number of steps to revive the stalled peace negotiations between the Afghan authorities and the Taliban. The letter, which requested the Afghan chief to “perceive the urgency of my tone,” was obtained by Mr. Ghani as a private slight, suggesting that he was one of many major obstacles to the method, stated an Afghan official with direct information of the matter.
Mr. Blinken’s letter additionally signaled continued high-level help for Zalmay Khalilzad, the longtime lead U.S. diplomat concerned within the peace course of, who’s a divisive determine in Kabul. Many in Mr. Ghani’s circle have resented the strain that the Afghan-born Mr. Khalilzad placed on the federal government over contentious points, together with the discharge of roughly 5,000 Taliban prisoners, in the course of the lead-up to the talks in Doha, Qatar, which started in September.
In search of to kick-start these lagging talks, Mr. Blinken proposed in his letter that the Taliban and Afghan management meet subsequent month in Turkey, the place they have been more likely to focus on a cease-fire and power-sharing proposal outlined by American officers. Neither aspect has agreed to the deal.
Mr. Blinken additionally pushed for a gathering of overseas ministers from Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Iran and the USA, hosted by the United Nations, to debate Afghanistan within the close to future. And Moscow will host a convention on the peace course of within the coming weeks that the Afghan authorities has agreed to attend.
As well as, Mr. Khalilzad, who’s in Doha, continues to fulfill with the Taliban in an effort to cut back violence in Afghanistan, and he’s exploring different methods the Taliban can have interaction Afghans and the worldwide group in pursuit of a political answer, in response to U.S. officers.
Extending the Might 1 deadline to pursue these diplomatic objectives, with out the Taliban’s settlement, carries steep dangers.
The Taliban have threatened to renew assaults in opposition to American and different Atlantic alliance forces if the USA unilaterally decides to maintain its forces past the Might deadline. American troops are actually hunkered down in a couple of dozen bases and carry out two major missions: counterterrorism operations and advising Afghan safety forces at numerous headquarters.