Afghan President Ashraf Ghani will propose a new presidential election within six months, under a peace plan he will put forward as a counter-offer to a U.S. proposal that he rejects, two senior government officials told Reuters.
Ghani will unveil his proposal at an international gathering in Turkey next month, signalling his refusal to accept Washington’s plan for his elected government to be replaced by an interim administration, the officials said.
“The counterproposal which we are going to present at the Istanbul meeting would be to call for early presidential elections if the Taliban agree on a ceasefire,” one senior government official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
Another Afghan government official said: “The president would never agree to step aside and any future government should be formed through democratic process, not a political deal.”
A third senior official also said Ghani’s proposal would include possible early elections, although he did not specify the exact time frame for the vote. The third official said Ghani had already shared his road map with Khalilzad.
U.S. Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad has been circulating a proposal which would replace the Kabul government with an interim administration. But Ghani has voiced vehement opposition to any solution that requires his government to step aside for unelected successors.
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