At a regional summit in Tajikistan, Ghani says he ‘strongly supports holding elections at the earliest possible time’.
Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani will put forward a three-phase peace roadmap for Afghanistan during a proposed meeting in Turkey, seeking an agreement with the Taliban and a ceasefire before elections, a document seen by Reuters news agency shows.
The United States is pushing for a conference to be hosted by Turkey, with the involvement of the United Nations, this month to finalise a peace deal between the government and the Taliban as a May 1 deadline looms for the withdrawal of all foreign troops.
Ghani’s plan will be presented as a counter to proposals put forward by Washington – and rejected by the Afghan government – that envisage immediately drawing up a new legal system for an interim administration to include Taliban representatives.
The document shows that Ghani’s Reaching an Endstate proposal will include, in the first phase, a consensus on a political settlement and an internationally monitored ceasefire.
The second phase will be holding a presidential election and the establishment of a “government of peace” and implementation arrangements for moving towards the new political system.
The third phase will involve building a “constitutional framework, reintegration of refugees and development” for Afghanistan moving forward.
A senior government official said Ghani has already shared his road map with foreign capitals.
A date for the Turkey meeting is yet to be decided, but multiple sources told Reuters it could take place in the next two weeks.
The Afghan government and a number of politicians said they would have to agree on an agenda with the Taliban before the meeting.
In a statement last month, the Taliban threatened to resume hostilities against foreign troops in Afghanistan if they did not meet the May 1 deadline set out in an agreement between the armed group and the Trump administration last year.
US President Joe Biden said this month it would be “hard” to withdraw the last US troops from Afghanistan by May 1 “just in terms of tactical reasons”, but he said he did not think they would still be there next year.
A senior government official said the Taliban was willing to extend the May 1 deadline and would not resume attacks against foreign forces in exchange for the release of thousands of their prisoners held by the Kabul authorities.
Mohammad Naeem, a Taliban spokesman in Qatar, said no such offer had been made.