Taliban have ‘no excuse’ to continue war after Ghani’s peace overture, says Pakistan

Gen. Nasir Khan Janjua
Updated 19 March 2018
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Taliban have ‘no excuse’ to continue war after Ghani’s peace overture, says Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s top security adviser has said Afghan Taliban insurgents “do not have any excuse” to continue war after President Ashraf Ghani’s proposals to recognize the Taliban as a political party, allow them open an office in Kabul, issue passports to their members and remove the names of senior commanders from the UN terrorist blacklists.
The Taliban have not issued any formal reaction to President Ghani’s latest initiative but a Taliban political official has told Arab News the Afghan leader has “skipped” the real issue — foreign invasion — in his address to the “Kabul Process” meeting in the Afghan capital on Feb. 28.
Pakistan National Security Adviser (NSA) Nasir Khan Janjua, who wrapped up his day-long visit to Kabul on Saturday evening, said on his return on Sunday that he has expressed complete support for the long-awaited peace offer.
Janjua’s office said he had elaborate and successful meetings with President Ashraf Ghani, Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, his counterpart Haneef Atmar, minister of defense, and the intelligence chief.
Abdullah’s office quoted the Pakistani NSA as saying: “The Taliban have no excuse to continue war” after what he described as unprecedented peace efforts.
In the statement on his return, Janjua termed the peace offer as “a light on the other side of the tunnel in a war which had become rather perpetual.”
The Taliban declined to offer any comments on Pakistan’s NSA remarks.
Janjua said the Afghan president “desired a roadmap to be prepared for a comprehensive engagement with Pakistan to carry the relationship further with a leap of faith.”
He confirmed President Ghani also handed over the letter of invitation to him for the Prime Minister of Pakistan and expected him to visit as soon as possible.
Analysts in Pakistan believe the main purpose of the NSA talks in Kabul was to “reduce mistrust” between the two countries.
Imtiaz Gul, head of the Center for Research and Security Studies in Islamabad, says the visit is a major confidence-building measure that could “open the way for bilateral dialogue.”
“The visit will also underline Pakistan’s push on the Taliban to come to the negotiations table,” Gul told Arab News.
Defense analyst Lt. Gen Amjad Shoaib called for more high-level interaction between the two countries which will help to create understanding on security issues. He termed the NSA visit as a major confidence-building measure and that there is a need for high-level exchanges.
“There is currently lack of bilateral interaction. Both countries should enhance intelligence sharing and Afghanistan should give up its opposition to the border management and fencing,” Gen. Amjad told Arab News on Sunday.
It is believed that Pakistan is under pressure from the US to act against the Afghan Taliban and its affiliate the Haqqani Network, and the same demand was repeated during the meeting between Prime Minister Abbasi and US Vice President Mike Pence in Washington on Friday.
“Pence reiterated President Trump’s request that the Government of Pakistan must do more to address the continued presence of the Taliban, the Haqqani Network, and other terrorist groups operating in their country,” a White House statement said after the meeting.
“The vice president stated that US efforts to eliminate terrorist groups who threaten US security and the stability of the region will continue and noted that Pakistan could and should work more closely with the United States,” the statement said.


Trump drops new North Korea sanctions because he ‘likes’ Kim

In this file photo taken on February 27, 2019 US President Donald Trump (L) speaks with North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un during a meeting at the Sofitel Legend Metropole hotel in Hanoi. (AFP)
Updated 23 March 2019
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Trump drops new North Korea sanctions because he ‘likes’ Kim

  • “President Trump likes Chairman Kim and he doesn’t think these sanctions will be necessary,” the president’s spokeswoman, Sarah Sanders, said

WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump on Friday abruptly announced the cancelation of sanctions imposed by his own Treasury Department to tighten international pressure on North Korea.
“It was announced today by the US Treasury that additional large scale Sanctions would be added to those already existing Sanctions on North Korea. I have today ordered the withdrawal of those additional Sanctions!” Trump said in a tweet.
He appeared to be referring to measures unveiled Thursday that targeted two Chinese companies accused of helping North Korea to evade tight international sanctions meant to pressure Pyongyang into ending its nuclear weapons program.
But The Washington Post reported, citing Trump administration officials, that the president’s tweet referenced future sanctions that had not been announced and were scheduled for “the coming days.”
The Thursday sanctions were the first new sign of pressure since talks between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un broke down in Hanoi less than a month ago.
However, Trump, who has previously spoken of “love” for the totalitarian leader, appears to retain hope that his strong personal relationship will bear fruit.
“President Trump likes Chairman Kim and he doesn’t think these sanctions will be necessary,” the president’s spokeswoman, Sarah Sanders, said.
Adam Schiff, a Democrat who heads the intelligence committee in the House of Representatives, blasted Trump for canceling sanctions “imposed only yesterday and championed by his own national security adviser, because he ‘loves’ Kim.”
“Foolish naivete is dangerous enough. Gross incompetence and disarray in the White House make it even worse,” Schiff tweeted.
On Thursday, Trump national security adviser John Bolton had tweeted that the sanctions were meant to put an end to “illicit shipping practices” by North Korea.
“Everyone should take notice and review their own activities to ensure they are not involved in North Korea’s sanctions evasion,” he said.
China complained, saying that it did enforce all UN resolutions and opposed “any country imposing unilateral sanctions and taking long-arm jurisdiction against any Chinese entity according to their own domestic laws.”
This was Trump’s second major, unexpected foreign policy announcement by Twitter in two days.
On Thursday, he sent a tweet reversing decades of US policy and pledged to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the hotly contested Golan Heights border area with Syria.