Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani wants the United Nations to mediate peace talks with the Taliban, which have reached an impasse.
In an article published on Foreign Affairs magazine, Ghani said that negotiations require a credible and neutral mediator and the best-placed organization for this role would be UN.
He said that the first topics of negotiation must be reaching the desired end state and putting in place a comprehensive cease-fire.
The next, he said, the parties would have to discuss and decide on a transitional administration.
“Although the structure of the republic must remain intact, a peace administration would maintain order and continuity while elections were planned and held,” Ghani said. “This transitional authority would have a short tenure, and it would end as soon as presidential, parliamentary, and local elections determined the country’s new leadership.”
“I would not run for office in such an election, and I would readily resign the presidency before the official end of my current term if it meant that my elected successor would have a mandate for peace.”
He suggested that Taliban’s refusal to participate in peace conference in Turkey suggested that the Taliban will not accept elections and they will not commit to uphold the rights of all Afghans, including girls, women, and minorities.
“The Taliban, it seems, remain more interested in power than in peace. A political settlement and the integration of the Taliban into society and government is the only way forward. But the ball is in their court,” Ghani said.
He said that the Taliban demand an Islamic system—but that already exists in Afghanistan. “The Taliban must articulate their desired end state with clarity and detail.”
Ghani also warned Pakistan saying if it chooses to support the Taliban, then Islamabad would be opting for enmity with the Afghan nation and would be foregoing the enormous economic benefits that peace and regional connectivity would offer.
“Pakistan would become an international pariah, as it would be left with no leverage in the aftermath of the U.S. troop withdrawal,” Ghani said.