Kabul, Mar 8 (efe-epa).- The Afghan government on Monday rejected a proposal made in a letter by United States’ Secretary of State Antony Blinken to accelerate the ongoing peace negotiations with the Taliban – stuck for weeks – that included a “negotiated settlement and ceasefire.”
“Our poverty and reliance on foreign world does not mean (that we have) to accept illegitimate demands,” Amrullah Saleh, the first vice president of the country, said in meeting in Kabul a day after Blinken’s letter, addressed to President Ashraf Ghani, was leaked to Afghan media.
While acknowledging that Kabul’s relation “with the western world and the US” is “fundamental and based on mutual interests,” Saleh said that foreign powers are free to decide over their military presence in Afghanistan but not the latter’s destiny.
“Americans and westerners have their legal right to hold conferences, give interviews, write letters and negotiate with the Taliban on the fate of 2,500 American soldiers and few thousands NATO soldiers. And It is the legitimate right of (Afghans) to not compromise on the fate of the 35 million people of Afghanistan based on the calendar and timeline of others,” the vice president said.
In his letter, the top US diplomat had suggested four points to speed up the peace process in Qatar which has been stalled for six months without significant process, even as violence has continued in Afghanistan.
These include the plan to hold a meeting between foreign ministers and special envoys of Russia, China, Pakistan, Iran, India and the US under the auspices of the United Nations to “discuss a unified approach to supporting peace in Afghanistan.”
The letter also said that the US administration had prepared a plan to reduce violence and prevent the traditional “spring offensive” of the Taliban.
The intra-Afghan peace process, which began in September as a result of the February 2020 Doha agreement between the US and the Taliban, has been almost in stalemate for more than a month amid the prevailing distrust between the involved parties.
In the Doha accord, Washington had greed to withdraw all its troops from Afghanistan by May 1 in exchange for the Taliban guaranteeing that they would not host foreign terrorists and not let their territory be used as a base for attacking other countries.
After Joe Biden getting elected as US president, his administration has said they are “reviewing” this agreement and have not yet confirmed whether Washington would withdraw its remaining 2,500 troops from Afghanistan, after around 12,000 soldiers were pulled out last year. EFE-EPA