KABUL -UNS: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani offered recognition of the Taliban as a legitimate political group, as part of a proposed political process that could lead to peace talks aimed at ending more than 16 years of war.
At a meeting on Wednesday of nations involved in the so-called Kabul Process, aimed at building a platform for peace talks, Ghani proposed a ceasefire and a release of prisoners, saying he would be ready to accept a review of the constitution as part of a pact with the Taliban.
The Taliban urged the United States on Monday to begin talks to end almost 17 years of war in Afghanistan, adding to a series of signals that suggest a greater willingness to explore options for dialogue.
In its statement, two days before the start of a meeting of regional leaders in Kabul to discuss ways of ending the war, the movement said it wanted a peaceful resolution.
“The Political Office of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan calls on American officials to talk directly to the Political Office of Islamic Emirate regarding a peaceful solution to the Afghan quandary,” it said.
“It would help in finding a solution if America accepts the legitimate demands of the Afghan people and [puts] forward its own concerns and requests for discussion to the Islamic Emirate through a peaceful channel,” it said.
The statement referred to reported comments by Alice Wells, the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, that the “door is open” for talks with the Taliban.