The US-backed Afghan government has presented the Taliban with a power-sharing deal in exchange for a halt in the group’s offensive, an Afghan government source told Al Jazeera.
The report said the offer was made through Qatar, where the Taliban has a political office, and Afghan peace talks are being held. Afghanistan’s presidential palace did not confirm that the report, but a top government official is currently in Doha meeting with US, Chinese, and Russian envoys.
Abdullah Abdullah, chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation, said Thursday that the government shared a peace plan with Qatar but did not refer specifically to a power-sharing deal. “We have presented our scheme to the host nation and you will also be provided with one,” he said in comments to the envoys.
The reported offer comes as the Taliban is making rapid gains. The Taliban has captured 11 provincial capitals over the past week, and the US is predicting Kabul could fall within 90 days and is preparing to evacuate some of its embassy staff.
Considering the Taliban’s success, the Afghan government has little leverage for peace talks. Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan said Wednesday that the Taliban told him they would not engage in negotiations until Afghan President Ashraf Ghani steps down. A Taliban spokesman told The Associated Press in July that until Ghani is out of office, there would be no ceasefire.