Ghani says truce is key for peace in Afghanistan

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. (AFP)
Updated 21 September 2019

Ghani says truce is key for peace in Afghanistan

  • In order to reach real peace, a cease-fire must happen and bloodshed must stop, Ghani says

KABUL: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said on Saturday that his government was ready for reconciliation with the Taliban and that a cease-fire was essential for real peace in Afghanistan.

“In order to reach real peace, a cease-fire must happen and bloodshed must stop,” Ghani said in a televised address marking International Day of Peace. “If the Taliban agree to peace, we do not want continuation of the war even for a single moment,” he said.

Ghani, who is standing for re-election in the presidential polls next week, said that peace has turned from a distant dream to a close reality.

“If the Taliban agree to peace, we do not want continuation of the war even for a single moment.”

Ashraf Ghani, Afghan president

He added the best solution for the current crisis was political participation and supporting the upcoming election. His comments follow a statement by US President Donald Trump two weeks ago, when he abruptly canceled talks with the Taliban following an attack in which one US soldier and 10 civilians died in Kabul. The cancelation of the talks came as both the US and the Taliban were close to inking an agreement after nearly a year of discussions in Qatar, which excluded Ghani’s government. 

Trump said on Saturday that he called off the meeting at Camp David because the group couldn’t agree to a cease-fire. The Taliban has repeatedly spoken about the desire for the resumption of talks with Washington, but reiterated their threat to derail the elections. Ghani’s government said its focus for now was the election, but added that the peace process would be its top priority after the vote.

“We are committed to peace,” Ghani’s chief spokesman, Sediq Seddiqi, told Arab News. “In terms of policy it is still a top priority for President Ghani.”


India, China trying to end army standoff in Himalayas

Updated 05 June 2020

India, China trying to end army standoff in Himalayas

  • Indian officials said Chinese soldiers entered the Indian-controlled territory of Ladakh in early May at three different points, erecting tents and guard posts
  • China has objected to India building a road through a valley connecting the region to an airstrip, possibly sparking its move to assert control over territory

NEW DELHI: Indian and Chinese foreign ministry officials on Friday discussed the flaring of tensions on their disputed Himalayan border, where thousands of soldiers from the two countries have been facing off just a few hundred meters (yards) from each other for a month, an Indian official said.
The video conference came a day before generals in the Ladakh region are scheduled to meet at a border post to intensify efforts for a pullback to their pre-May positions in the region. The army officers have held a series of meetings in the past four weeks to break the impasse.
An External Affairs Ministry statement in New Delhi said both sides agreed that they should handle their differences through peaceful discussion "bearing in mind the importance of respecting each other’s sensitivities, concerns and aspirations and not allow them to become disputes.”
Indian officials say Chinese soldiers entered the Indian-controlled territory of Ladakh in early May at three different points, erecting tents and guard posts.
They said the Chinese soldiers ignored repeated verbal warnings to leave, triggering shouting matches, stone-throwing and fistfights.
China has sought to downplay the confrontation while providing little information. Indian media reports say that the two armies have moved artillery guns in the region.
China has objected to India building a road through a valley connecting the region to an airstrip, possibly sparking its move to assert control over territory along the border that is not clearly defined in places.
India and China fought a border war in 1962 and have been trying since the early 1990’s to settle their dispute without success.
In all, China claims some 90,000 square kilometers (35,000 square miles) of territory in India’s northeast, including the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh with its traditionally Buddhist population. India says China occupies 38,000 square kilometers (15,000 square miles) of its territory in the Aksai Chin Plateau in the western Himalayas, including part of the Ladakh region.