Negotiators from the United States and the Taliban have now held several rounds of talks to discuss a possible peace deal in Afghanistan, but there is still no agreement on when foreign troops will withdraw from the country.
The role the Taliban will play after a possible peace deal has also not been defined, and the group is refusing to negotiate with the Afghan government, deeming it illegitimate.
Despite this, Chief Executive of Afghanistan and presidential hopeful Abdullah Abdullah says the Taliban can “absolutely” run in the 2019 elections, but only if they stop fighting and helping groups like al-Qaeda.
“If [the] Taliban give up fighting and violence and sever their links with the terrorist groups and turn themselves into a political entity and fight for their cause politically and join the political process, the people of Afghanistan will be ready to accept that,” he said.
Abdullah believes the Taliban is the obstacle to peace in Afghanistan and is responsible for prolonging the war.
When asked about a recent study that estimated that the Afghan government controls barely 55 percent of the country’s districts, Abdullah admitted it was a “serious challenge”.
“If they (the Taliban) want to continue the war forever, that’s their choice. If they want to come and sit and talk about peace, there is an opportunity,” he added.
This week’s headliner, Afghan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah.
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