Afghan President Sets Aside Peace Bids, Vows Harsher Fight Against Taliban by Tim Craig and Sayed Salahuddin, Washington Post
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani stepped back Monday from attempts to engage Taliban insurgents in peace talks, vowing that Afghanistan will instead “execute” enemies of the state and undertake preparations for an extended war.
In a speech that signaled a significant shift in policies, Ghani left open the prospect for dialogue with Taliban fighters who put down their weapons. But Ghani deemed the broader Taliban organization and its Pakistan-based offshoot, the Haqqani network, “terrorists” and promised expanded attacks by the Afghan military.
Ghani’s remarks are a setback for the Obama administration’s hopes that the 14-year Taliban insurgency could be ended through a negotiated settlement. Back-channel discussions have been held for the past three years to try to establish a framework for such talks…