In U.S. pursuit of peace talks, perilous rift opens with Afghan leader
US officials believe that Afghan President Ashraf Ghani may try to sabotage US-Taliban peace talks as a consequences of the US government’s decision to exclude Afghanistan’s government from the negotiations.
Ashraf Ghani supposedly feels betrayed, not just because the US agreed to direct talks with the Taliban, which does not recognize Ghani’s government, but also because the US has not provided much information to Afghan officials about the talks. US officials believe that Ghani fears the US and the Taliban may agree to establish some kind of interim government for Afghanistan, from which Ghani would be excluded.
US-Afghan relations have already deteriorated as a result of the peace talks. Earlier this month, Afghanistan’s security adviser Hamdullah Mohib complained that the US was not being transparent enough about the talks and also personally attacked Zalmay Khalilzad, the chief negotiator for the US. In response, the US told Afghan President Ashraf Ghani that it will no longer deal with Mohib.