US to ask Turkey 'to host' intra-Afghan peace talks

In a bid to accelerate the stalled peace process, a meeting between the Afghan government representatives and the Taliban would be arranged in Turkey, according to a letter leaked by Afghanistan's Tolo News on March 7. 

The letter was sent by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, revealed in the leaked letter.

"We will ask the government of Turkey to host a senior-level meeting of both sides in the coming weeks to finalize a peace agreement. I [Blinken] urge you [Ghani] or your authoritative designates to join other representatives of the Islamic Republic [of Afghanistan] in this meeting," Tolo News reported, sharing the leaked letter on its website.

According to the letter, Blinken said Washington has also intended to ask the U.N. to convene foreign ministers and envoys from Russia, China, Pakistan, Iran, India, and the U.S. to discuss how to promote peace in Afghanistan.

"It is my belief that these countries share an abiding common interest in a stable Afghanistan and must work together if we are to succeed," he said in the letter.

He also called for a more inclusive and credible approach by the Afghan government to the negotiations with the Taliban on governance and power-sharing.

Blinken in the letter also warned that security would worsen and the Taliban would make territorial gains as the US was still considering the full withdrawal of forces by May 1.

"I am making this clear to you so that you understand the urgency of my tone regarding the collective work outlined in this letter."

Blinken noted that the US is working on a plan to reduce violence for 90 days to prevent the Taliban from launching a spring offensive.

The Taliban resumed negotiations on this plan...

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