The United States (US) on Monday called on the Taliban to consider an offer for peace talks extended by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

Ghani at an international conference in Kabul last week unveiled a plan to open talks with the Taliban, including eventually recognising them as a political party.

In return, Ghani said the militants should officially recognise the Afghan government and constitution, a perennial sticking point in past attempts to open talks.

Explore: What is Ashraf Ghani's plan to end Afghanistan's 40-year conflict?

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid has maligned the Kabul Process, tweeting that the conference sought the Taliban's "surrender".

Alice Wells, the principal deputy assistant secretary for the State Department's Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, told reporters she had been struck by Ghani's proposal.

Also read: Kabul’s bold offer

“I heard him offering a dignified process,” she said.

“This is not a surrender that's being offered to the Taliban, but a dignified process for reaching a political framework,” she added, noting that the Kabul conference was “really a historic benchmark event".

Wells said the Afghan government had “listened carefully” to the Taliban and was responsive to a number of their requests.

Ghani's offer was “quite forward-leaning and frankly I think probably caught the Taliban by surprise,” Wells said. “This was quite a courageous offer.”

“We certainly encourage the Taliban to take this offer seriously. It does put the onus on the Taliban to respond,” she added.

Last week, the Taliban said it was prepared to enter direct talks with the US to find a “peaceful solution” to more than 16 years of war.

That statement however made no mention of negotiating with the Afghan government, a condition which the US has long stated is vital to any peace process.

Opinion

Storm landing
28 Oct 2021

Storm landing

The notification saga has ended, but so has the ‘same page’.
State of surrender
27 Oct 2021

State of surrender

What’s the difference between TLP’s religious extremism and the government’s encouragement of religiosity?

Editorial

Notification lessons
Updated 28 Oct 2021

Notification lessons

WHILE the stand-off on the nomination of the country’s new spymaster finally came to an end this week, the reality...
28 Oct 2021

Hunger in Afghanistan

THE reports and images emerging from Afghanistan are very disturbing. People selling their belongings and ...
28 Oct 2021

Elegance for eternity

MANKIND’S romance with technology is a charming outcome of the Industrial Age. In recent years — months, indeed...
27 Oct 2021

Escalating prices

ONE question being asked by almost every Pakistani today is: for how long will we have to suffer food price ...
Another demolition
Updated 27 Oct 2021

Another demolition

THE closing act in the battle over the 15-storey Nasla Tower in Karachi has been set in motion. On Monday, the...
27 Oct 2021

A despicable custom

IT is a wonder that it took so long for the Federal Shariat Court to declare the practice of swara un-Islamic. To...