New peace proposal a golden opportunity: Abdali

Monitoring Desk

KABUL: A pipeline project carrying gas from Turkmenistan to India will see a major boost if the Taliban respond positively to President Ashraf’s bold peace initiative, says an Afghan diplomat. Work on the Afghan section of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India pipeline got under way last week. The pipeline could bring 33 billion cubic feet of gas to the subcontinent for more than 30 years.

On Wednesday, Ghani reached out to the Taliban and Pakistan by offering them open-ended peace talks. The president even offered the militant movement recognition as a political party.

Hours after the presidential address to a conference in Kabul, Afghan Ambassador to India Dr. Shaida Abdali hailed the speech as a golden opportunity and an offer made never before.

In an interview with First Post, the ambassador suggested the Taliban’s strength depended on foreign’s support.

“We hope our neighbors, will respond.”

Abdali said: “We want an end to their sanctuaries. If neighbor thinks it can block the region from integration, it should already know by now (that blocking) is not a viable option. We have already moved beyond.”

About India’s support since 2001, Abdali called New Delhi a special friend. India has invested generously in building roads, dams and hospitals in the war-torn country.