The Afghan Taliban has accepted to join the peace dialogue initiated by the Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani, according to officials.
Afghanistan’s Herat provincial council chairman Kamran Alizai said that the talks were held with the militant group regarding the same and in return, the Taliban set pre-conditions such as securing employment on the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project.
“The armed group (Taliban) said they will join the peace process if employed on the TAPI project. They will also ensure the project’s security,” said Alizai.
Herat governor Mohammad Asif Rahimi also welcomed the group’s move. He said the government will provide them with employment opportunities after they join the peace process, TOLOnews reported.
“The door is open, the offer has been made to all the anti-government armed groups,” Rahimi said.
This comes after a group of 10 insurgents also joined the peace process in support of the TAPI project.
Pakistan has also supported Ghani’s latest initiative, in what was seen as the first possible breakthrough in the thawing of frosty ties between Kabul and Islamabad.
Afghan Ambassador to Pakistan Omar Zakhilwal held talks with Pakistan’s National Security Adviser (NSA) Nasser Khan Janjua on Wednesday, on the outcome of the Kabul Process Conference, which was held last week.
“He informed that President Ashraf Ghani had given a message of peace and reconciliation to the Taliban, together with a message of closer engagement and cordial relations with Pakistan, with a view to promoting peace, stability and prosperity in the region,” an official said.
The TAPI is an under-construction pipeline which will transport natural gas starting from the Galkynysh Gas Field in Turkmenistan through Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. It is expected to be operational by 2019.