Following reports that the Taliban’s senior leadership had agreed to a 7-day reduction of violence in Afghanistan, Salam Rahimi, the state minister for peace affairs, on Thursday rejected the alleged Taliban position, calling it "unacceptable" for the Afghan government, and insisted that the insurgent group must agree to a ceasefire before engaging in intra-Afghan talks.
Rahimi said no tangible result was achieved from the US efforts for the Afghan peace process over the past one year.
Rahimi made the remarks on Thursday in an event organized by the Afghan Institute for Strategic Studies (AISS) titled “Political Settlement and Post-Conflict Order in Afghanistan People’s Views."
Rahimi also stated that the Afghan government has finalized the peace negotiations team to meet with the Taliban.
“We are completely ready-- preparatory work has been done and our delegation is ready,” said Rahimi.
“On the issue of reduction in violence, I must say that no one supports this,” said Rahimi.
What does "reduction in violence" mean?
“When there is a reduction in operations--either in air or on land, this means 'reduction in violence,'” said Tamim Asey, the former deputy minister of defense.
Regional approach towards Afghan peace:
The statements come hours after Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in a video message said that Afghanistan and Pakistan "need stability," and "good progress" has been made as the Taliban shows “they are ready for a reduction in violence.”
Qureshi said that negotiations have continued between the US and Taliban, and Pakistan wants progress toward peace as both countries "have a need for peace.”
Pakistan has played its role, he said, and he “hopes that the entire region will seek peace.”
India’s chief of defense staff, General Bipin Rawat, on Thursday said that he supported a negotiated peace deal between the US and Taliban in Afghanistan.
“I think the negotiations must last until peace and it should not be temporary measure to find an exit,” he said, adding that “today the Afghan defense forces need support, they need technology, they need air support.”
Gen. Rawat, who was speaking along with other world leaders at the Raisina dialogue, organized by India's influential think tank the Observer Research Foundation (ORF), said that terrorism was going to stay in the world as long as states were going to use it against other states.
On Thursday, the Associated Press also reported that the Taliban gave he US Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad a document that outlines their offer for a "temporary ceasefire" in Afghanistan that would last between "seven and 10 days."
“It is expected that the proposal for the reduction of violence has been handed over to the US delegations, and the decision will be made about the date to sign the peace agreement,” said Khalilullah Safai, head of Pugwash in Afghanistan.
Intra-Afghan talks within two weeks, any peace agreement between the US and the Taliban
Sources familiar with the US-Taliban talks in Doha have said that the US delegation will travel to Kabul once they receive the proposal for reduction in violence from the Taliban.
In Kabul, the US delegation will hold talks with the Afghan political leaders.