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Kabul, Jan 10 (IANS) The Afghan Taliban have turned down the offer of government posts made by the new dispensation in Kabul under President Ashraf Ghani.
The offer came from new President Ghani in a bid to end the insurgency that threatens the recovery of the country, BBC reported.
More than three months after assuming office, President Ghani is still to announce the shape of his cabinet.
The process has been delayed because of disagreements with President Ghani’s partner and Chief Executive Officer, Abdullah Abdullah.
The president’s spokesman has denied that the jobs were offered formally.
But a source close to President Ghani said the government should be drawn “not just from the two teams, but from all parties in Afghanistan”.
The three men whom President Ghani had hoped to draw into his government are Mullah Zaeef, the former Taliban ambassador to Pakistan who has lived relatively openly in Kabul for some years, Wakil Muttawakil, the former Taliban foreign minister and Ghairat Baheer, a close relative of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, whose forces are allied to the Taliban.
The ministerial posts earmarked for them were rural affairs, the borders, giving the Taliban responsibility for collecting customs, and the Hajj, the religious pilgrimage to Mecca.
There have also been negotiations over appointing Taliban governors in three southern provinces — Nimruz, Kandahar and Helmand.
This would have been the most contentious part of the deal for the international community. Most of the NATO casualties in Afghanistan, including 453 British lives lost, were in efforts to keep the Taliban out of the south.
But the government’s offer has now been turned down. A source close to the Taliban leadership said security deals signed by the new government allowing some international troops to remain in Afghanistan when combat troops left at the end of 2014 was the main stumbling block.
The Taliban also want changes in the constitution and immunity from prosecution before they enter into negotiations on joining the government.
The Taliban disagrees with deals allowing some NATO troops to remain in Afghanistan
but the offer of posts shows that Ashraf Ghani is different from his predecessor Hamid Karzai — willing to make bold and controversial gestures to secure change.
His supporters say that he has secured better cooperation with Pakistan to crack down on the Taliban inside their borders, and a number of Pakistani delegations have visited Kabul.
President Ghani has also called on China and Saudi Arabia to use their influence over Pakistan to improve relations.
A local group that has been monitoring the delivery of election campaign promises says that 83 remain untouched, and despite progress on more than 20 others, only four have been fully implemented.
It is not even clear that the involvement of the Taliban in government would have ended the insurgency, as some commanders remain opposed to any deals.