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.


Indonesian 15-year-old raped by brother jailed over abortion

Updated 22 min 42 sec ago
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Indonesian 15-year-old raped by brother jailed over abortion

  • The girl, who was raped by her brother eight times starting in September last year, had the abortion about six months after becoming pregnant
  • Police arrested the siblings in June after a male fetus was discovered at a palm oil plantation near Pulau village in Jambi province

JAKARTA: A 15-year-old girl who was raped by her older brother has been jailed for six months for having an abortion, an Indonesian official said Saturday.
The girl was sentenced Thursday alongside her 17-year-old brother in a closed hearing at Muara Bulian District Court on the island of Sumatra, court spokesman Listyo Arif Budiman said.
“The girl was charged under the child protection law for having an abortion,” he told AFP.
Her brother was sentenced to two years in jail for sexually assaulting a minor.
Indonesia forbids abortion unless a woman’s life is at risk or under certain circumstances if she is raped.
The law requires that an abortion must be performed by a registered professional no later than six weeks into a pregnancy, and the woman must undergo counselling.
The girl, who was raped by her brother eight times starting in September last year, had the abortion about six months after becoming pregnant, Budiman said.
She was helped by her mother who is facing separate charges.
Police arrested the siblings in June after a male fetus was discovered at a palm oil plantation near Pulau village in Jambi province.
Prosecutors had originally asked that the girl be jailed for one year and her brother for seven. They say they may still appeal the decision.
Global health authorities and rights groups have long criticized Indonesia’s abortion laws, which they say restrict women’s rights to reproductive health and lead many to undertake dangerous abortions at illegal clinics.
Abortions account for between 30 and 50 percent of maternal deaths in the country, according to a 2013 World Health Organization report.