Afghanistan’s Ghani Won’t Run in Snap Polls He Proposed: Mohib

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani will not run in the snap elections he proposed under a peace plan with Taliban militants in a bid to end 20 years of war, according to Hamdullah Mohib, his national security adviser.

“Whenever it’s required -- whether six months or three months,” Ghani will be ready to hold the elections, Mohib told reporters in Kabul. The Taliban had rejected Ghani’s peace plan, saying it will further intensify the current crisis.

Ghani’s proposal last month for the early polls was in response to a U.S. bid to appoint an interim government to replace his administration. A Taliban spokesman, Mohammad Naeem, said they received the U.S. peace offer and were still reviewing it.

The U.S. is pushing Ghani and the Taliban to reach a peace deal so it can withdraw the remaining 2,500 U.S. forces from the war-torn country. The UN-led peace conference, mediated by the U.S., in Istanbul expected later this month is deemed to be an important development with senior representatives from the government, Taliban and Afghan politicians outside the government. The agenda will focus on an immediate comprehensive cease-fire and a joint power-sharing government with the Taliban.

President Joe Biden told reporters last month that it would be “hard” to pull out the troops by the May 1 deadline agreed in a February U.S.-Taliban peace deal though he “can’t picture” troops remaining in the country by next year. The Taliban called Biden’s comments “misleading” and vowed to resume attacks on U.S. forces if the country misses the withdrawal deadline.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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