Ghani administration key stumbling block to peace: Taliban


KABUL: A leading Taliban negotiator on Friday claimed President Ashraf Ghani’s administration was the “only obstacle” to the Afghan peace process, accusing him of prolonging the process and not willing to hand the power to another government for the sake of peace.
According to reporters in Moscow, Abbas Stanekzai, whose press conference was televised by Sputnik, said the Taliban could not be forced to lay down their weapons as long as foreign forces remain in the region.
“You witnessed that Mr. Ashraf Ghani made different statements… Even in one of his statements, he said that if a future government is established, he should be the leader, the president,” Stanekzai said. “You can see that they are lobbying NATO and the U.S. to prolong their government.”
According to him, the administration of Ashraf Ghani is the only hurdle to peace.
On the other hand, he said the Taliban remained committed to the enforcement of the US-Taliban Pact, and in this regard, their team was ‘regularly’ in touch with the United States.
“The reviewing of the agreement is their internal matter… We hope that Americans should go according to this peace treaty, which was signed in Doha. It’s a good chance for Americans… it is in their favor”, Stanekzai said of recent remarks by the new U.S. administration, which has hinted at revisiting the US-Taliban deal. 
This comes a day after the Pentagon said the Biden administration would not commit to a complete withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan by May because the Taliban did not comply with the commitments they made in the agreement signed last February in Doha with the United States.