Reports say the Afghan president will not be a candidate at the upcoming elections, which is likely to take place in the next six months.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani is set to propose a three-phase roadmap for the ongoing peace process at the upcoming Istanbul meeting in April, Reuters reported on Sunday, as Taliban delegates met in Doha.
The “Reaching an Endstate” document outlines the first phase of the proposal that includes a “consensus on a political settlement” as well as an “internationally monitored” ceasefire.
A presidential election and the establishment of a “government of peace” will come as part of the second phase of the plan, which comes following a clear rejection of a previous US proposal to form an interim government.
Reports in March said President Ghani would propose a presidential election within six months, under the supervision of the UN.
“The counterproposal which we are going to present at the Istanbul meeting would be to call for early presidential elections if the Taliban agree on a ceasefire,” one senior government official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
However, Ghani’s national security adviser, Hamdullah Mohib told a press conference on Saturday that the president will not be a candidate in the elections.
The third phase of the plan involves building a “constitutional framework, reintegration of refugees and development” for Afghanistan following decades of conflict.
The proposal has already been shared with foreign capitals ahead of the Turkey meeting, Reuters added, without specifying which countries have seen the document.
The Istanbul conference is set to “to take place in two weeks’ time” though a date has yet to be made public.
Talks in Doha
Meanwhile, an Afghan government delegation is currently holding discussions with the Taliban and the US in Doha to set the agenda for the upcoming conference.
“The Taliban had nothing to discuss [in Doha], and they only insulted [Afghan officials] to show that they have not changed, and that they only want power,” Mohib told the same press conference on Saturday.
Meanwhile, attacks on civilians in Kabul continue to take place amid the ongoing peace process, placing more uncertainty in the path of the intra-Afghan talks.
This also risks a February agreement with Washington that hopes to see the complete withdrawal of US and NATO forces by May 1st.
However, US President Joe Biden last month said the complete withdrawal of American forces may be “tough” while the Taliban continues its attacks in Afghanistan.
The militants threatened to maintain attacks in the Afghan capital if the US does not withdraw its troops.
The upcoming Istanbul talks aim to fast-track the discussions in Qatar, which initially began in September last year.
Mohib also confirmed that a delegation has agreed to attend the conference in Istanbul.
“If the Taliban sends negotiators from Doha, the Afghan government will also send its delegates that are currently in the Qatari capital,” he told a press conference last month.