Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani has put together a 12-member team that will lead potential peace talks with Taliban as his government promised support to resolve the conflict despite persistent bloodshed. The Afghan government that is also getting support from the international community led by the United Nations is hoping to reach a deal to put an end to Taliban’s 17-year rule. The formation of the “peace team” was not welcome by Taliban, which launched attacks including a blast outside a British security compound, killing at least 10 people.
This violence came just hours after Mr. Ghani announced the plan in Geneva at an international conference. The team will be led by Mr. Ghani’s Chief of Staff, Abdul Salam Rahimi, who is considered one of his closest aides. The Afghani leader also outlined a “roadmap” for the negotiations and the principles that need to be part of any agreement – respect for the constitution and the total rejection of interference in domestic affairs by foreign criminal groups. “We seek a peace agreement in which the Afghan Taliban would be included in a democratic and inclusive society,” Mr. Ghani said.
EU chief of diplomacy, Federica Mogherini, who was also attending the conference said she believed that it was time for concrete steps. She said that the EU was ready to serve as the “guarantor” of the peace talks. Mr. Ghani said earlier in November that it was “not a question of if, but when” an agreement would be reached with the Taliban. Taliban is a Sunni fundamentalist political organization in Afghanistan waging war in the country. In 2012, the organization was responsible for 80% of casualties, according to the United Nations.