Ghani urges Europeans to ‘get Pakistan on board’

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Kabul

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has said Pakistan has to make an important decision of Afghan peace and urged European countries to “get Pakistan on board.”

In an interview with German publication Der Spiegel and reported by Afghanistan’s Tolo News, Ghani said Europeans, especially Germany, “can do a lot” in the peace process with the Taliban.

“Clear messages and incentives from Germany will help – and, conversely, they should introduce sanctions if the decision goes in a different direction than hoped,” said Ghani.

“As Europeans, you should not see yourself as observers; you are a direct part of these events.”

When asked if a future security agreement between Kabul and Afghanistan is the key to peace, the Afghan president said it is the “most important key” and added that the goal is the “neutrality of Afghanistan”.

“We don’t want a new protecting power, and we don’t want to be part of regional or international rivalries,” Ghani said as quoted in the interview.

“It is first and foremost a matter of getting Pakistan on board. The US now plays only a minor role. The question of peace or hostility is now in Pakistani hands.”

He also alleged that Pakistan “operates an organized system of support” for the Afghan Taliban and claimed the “Taliban receive logistics” from Pakistan.

“The names of the various decision-making bodies of the Taliban are Quetta Shura, Miramshah Shura and Peshawar Shura – named after the Pakistani cities where they are located. There is a deep relationship with the state.”

Taliban and Afghan government negotiators met in Qatar on Friday, the second day of a three-day ceasefire announced by the Taliban for the Muslim holiday of Eidul Fitr, both sides said after a long pause in peace talks between the two. They began negotiations in September last year to find a way to end decades of war.

But the talks stalled after a few rounds and violence has escalated since the United States started a final pullout of troops from Afghanistan on May 1.— Agencies