Pompeo Calls Afghan President Amidst Talks with Taliban

President Ashraf Ghani is being pushed to the sidelines as the Taliban ignores his overtures for peace and negotiates instead with his friends, and enemies, over the future of Afghanistan.

"We are fighting only for freedom of Afghanistan and just to remove the foreign forces from Afghanistan", Stanikzai told RT's Maria Finoshina on Tuesday. "We will bring peace in our country, we have no other agenda".

The ministry noted that with the goal of disrupting the event, fake invitations are disseminated in the Internet saying that the meeting will be held under the guise of the Moscow format, envisaging the participation of officials from regional states. He, however, added that the Afghan government does not consider the gathering to be in the interest of peace. Hope for peace coexists with the fear that the USA will leave as carelessly as it boosted intervention in 2017, when civilian deaths surged due to increased air strikes.

Mr Stanikzai has overseen a series of meetings with the United States special envoy for Afghan reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, in recent months.

Ghani's rivals could see an opportunity in these various Taliban talks to undermine his leadership, analysts say, ahead of presidential elections slated for July.

"Peace is more hard than war", Mr Stanikzai added, alluding to the difficulties in reaching a settlement.

"Peace talks with the Taliban continue, but [the Defense Department] has not received a directive to change the force structure in Afghanistan", said Manning.

"I think that unless, and until, they're [the Taliban] willing to talk directly with the Afghan government, it's going to be very hard for the United States, as much as it is angling to get out of Afghanistan as soon as possible".

He made his remarks in a television interview as Afghan opposition politicians, including his predecessor Hamid Karzai, met Taliban representatives in Moscow.

Former vice president Yunus Qanooni told the conference that the current Islamic Republic system in Afghanistan is at the request of all Afghans and that it has been established on the back of sacrifices of millions of Afghans, according to Tolo News.

Despite opposition from his powerful critics, President Ghani was still able to maintain a strong position due to the backing of his most important ally - Washington.

Lavrov will visit the former Soviet republics of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan, meeting the leadership of each country and navigating the security landscape in light of Trump's stated intention to withdraw all USA troops from Afghanistan. Moscow seeks to reassert its influence in the region and probably would want a role in shaping any possible peace plan.

The talks were "very satisfactory" Karzai said at the end of the February 5-6 talks, which have been described by some as part of an "intra-Afghan" peace process - despite the absence of Kabul government representatives. "Everything" must include an intra-Afghan dialogue and comprehensive ceasefire". "But after ending their military presence, their non-military teams can come and we need them too, they can come and take part in the reconstruction and development process", he added.

But Pakistan "has avoided taking any concrete or irreversible steps such as arresting or expelling Taliban leaders who do not cooperate with reconciliation efforts", he said.

Also on Wednesday, Taliban reiterated its long-held demand that all foreign troops get out of Afghanistan, rejecting a suggestion by US President Donald Trump of a lingering US focus on counter-terrorism after troops are drawn down.

"The Taliban are dancing to different songs at the same time".

  • Leroy Wright