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NATO weights Afghan peace offer to Taliban

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AT Monitoring Desk-KABUL: The recent peace offer to the Taliban has been fully backed by the NATO member countries, terming it unprecedented opportunity to end the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan—taking huge toll on civilians.

President Ashraf Ghani has offered unparalleled peace offer to the Taliban in order to bring a logical solution to the long decades of war. The offer has been widely welcomed, but the Taliban insurgents yet to show any sign on it.

On the sidelines of the alliance’s foreign minister meeting in Brussels, Gen. John Nicholson, the commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan told Ariananews that they are hopeful over the continuation of dialogue between the Afghan government and Taliban group.

“It was interesting to know that the Taliban did not address President Ghani’s offer of peace. I think this means we are entering to a period of fighting and talking, and the Taliban are talking at many levels; unofficially, behind the scenes, to leaders in and out of the government and talking to many nations in the region. We are hopeful that this dialogue will continue even as we fight,” Nicholson said.

The top commander who is leading NATO forces in Afghanistan noted the Taliban insurgents are not able to collapse cities and districts anymore and the Afghan and international forces will destroy their financial sources in every part of the country. Gen. Nicholson praised Afghan forces efforts in weakening the Daesh group’s activities in the country.

“We are now seeing deep disruption of ISIS elements in the north. Some of them have considered switching sides, as you probably know some of those fighters in the north were former Taliban joined ISIS and now are considering going back. So there is confusion being caused to ISIS in the north,” Gen. asserted. The U.S. four-star general also stressed on reducing tensions between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“We see strong pressure being put on Pakistan by the U.S. government. You saw the suspension of aid by President Trump at the beginning of the year. The statement issued by NATO foreign ministers called on Pakistan to support the peace process,” Gen Nicholson added. “We are encouraged by the fact that Prime Minister Abbasi visited Afghanistan and met with President Ghani, so we hope that this level of dialogue and cooperation and pressure leads to the Taliban supporting the peace process or Pakistan supporting the peace process and it no longer supporting the Taliban.”

This comes as the Taliban group has recently announced the start of their annual spring offensive named “Al Khandaq” and dismissed President Ghani’s peace offer but pledged to focus on U.S. forces.